The Saykally Group

Experimental and Theoretical Physical Chemistry

X-Ray Spectroscopy of Liquids

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One of the main research interests of the Saykally group is using x-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS) to probe ions in solution. In this technique, synchrotron-generated x-rays are used to excite core-level (typically 1s) electrons to anti-bonding molecular orbitals. The energy of core-level electrons is generally not affected by the structure or environment of the molecule, however the anti-bonding MOs are more sensitive to both of these factors. A molecule can then exhibit different x-ray absorption spectra in different solvation environments. The experimental spectra can then be compared to simulated spectra, to determine the solvation environment of the molecule. Current projects being studied include Li+ ions in typical Li-ion battery solvents, and mixtures of HCl and carbonate/bicarbonate in an attempt to detect aqueous carbonic acid.

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