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Water Solvation of Charged and Neutral Gold Nanoparticles
preprintposted on 2023-01-11, 22:42 authored by Fabio Novelli, Miguel Bernal Lopez, Gerhard Schwaab, Beatriz Roldan Cuenya, Martina Havenith
Gold nanoparticles are unique electrocatalysts for oxygen reduction, carbon dioxide reduction, and alcohol oxidation. Electrocatalytic processes are influenced by the interaction with the solvent, yet the direct investigation of the solvation of nanoparticles is scarce. Here we select gold nanoparticles as 10 nm sized solutes of which we can control the charge. We perform mid-infrared and terahertz spectroscopy to compare the behavior of the water in solution with micelles loaded with neutral and positive gold nanoparticles. We find indications that the hydration water around the gold-loaded micelles is characterized by weaker hydrogen bonds than bulk water. A positive nanoparticle charge is observed to result in a larger blue shift of the OH stretch, quenches the intensity of the collective translational mode, and increases the absorption by librating water molecules. Water at the interface of a positive gold nanoparticle could experience a stiffer potential energy surface which, in turn, might unveil local thermodynamic properties.