Water Condensation on Graphite Studied by Elastic Helium Scattering and Molecular Dynamics Simulations
Journal article, 2007
Formation of water/ice layers on graphite has been studied in the temperature range from 90 to 180 K by elastic helium scattering, light scattering, and molecular dynamics simulations. Combined helium- and light-scattering experiments show that an ice film that wets the graphite surface is formed at surface temperatures of 100-140 K, whereas three-dimensional ice structures are formed at 140-180 K. Desorption of adsorbed water molecules competes with water incorporation into the ice film, and the ice formation rate is strongly temperature dependent. At 150 K, ice-layer formation takes place at the same time scale as layer reconstruction, and its properties are sensitive to the water deposition rate. The experimental results are compared with kinetics models, and the Johnston-Mehl-Avrami-Kolmogorov model is concluded to well describe the ice-layer formation kinetics in the whole temperature range. Molecular dynamics simulations of water-cluster formation on graphite at 90-180 K show that water molecules and small clusters are highly mobile on the surface, which rapidly results in the nucleation of large and less mobile clusters on the surface. Clusters formed at low temperature tend to have the most molecules in direct contact with the uppermost graphite layer, while multilayer cluster structures are preferred at high temperatures. The results are discussed and compared with earlier studies of water ice formation on solid surfaces.