Ion solvation and aqueous chemistry

Collecting water samples in the Everglades

In nature, the behavior of soluble inorganics, organics, and colloids are largely determined by their interactions with water. Since nearly all chemical processes in our environment occur in the presence of water, the chemistry of water itself is one of the primary issues that needs to be understood.

Our fundamental research focus is to understand the nature of the H-bonding environment in liquid water under ambient conditions, hydration of soluble and insoluble species, and complex formation of ions. We are also investigating the nature of water interactions with the functional groups of simple organic molecules, which will help in understanding functional group chemistry (e.g. protonation, metal complexation) of long chain biological molecules. We use synchrotron based soft x-ray spectroscopy tools, and the experimental chambers (soft X-ray endstation for environmental research) that we have developed in these studies. We also complement these studies with vibrational spectroscopy and other conventional laboratory methods.

Since we began these studies several years ago, we have obtained new and interesting fundamental information in a variety of areas. Please follow the links on the left for more details on individual projects.