Wet Electrons at the H2O/TiO2(110) Surface

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Science  20 May 2005:
Vol. 308, Issue 5725, pp. 1154-1158
DOI: 10.1126/science.1109366

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At interfaces of metal oxide and water, partially hydrated or “wet-electron” states represent the lowest energy pathway for electron transfer. We studied the photoinduced electron transfer at the H2O/TiO2(110) interface by means of time-resolved two-photon photoemission spectroscopy and electronic structure theory. At ∼1-monolayer coverage of water on partially hydroxylated TiO2 surfaces, we found an unoccupied electronic state 2.4 electron volts above the Fermi level. Density functional theory shows this to be a wet-electron state analogous to that reported in water clusters and which is distinct from hydrated electrons observed on water-covered metal surfaces. The decay of electrons from the wet-electron state to the conduction band of TiO2 occurs in ≤15 femtoseconds.

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