Collision Dynamics and Solvation of Water Molecules in a Liquid Methanol Film
Journal article, 2011
Environmental molecular beam experiments are used to examine water interactions with liquid methanol films at temperatures from 170 to 190 K. We find that water molecules with 0.32 eV incident kinetic energy are efficiently trapped by the liquid methanol. The scattering process is characterized by an efficient loss of energy to surface modes with a minor component of the incident beam that is inelastically scattered. Thermal desorption of water molecules has a well characterized Arrhenius form with an activation energy of 0.47 ± 0.11 eV and pre-exponential factor of 4.6 × 10^(15±3) s^(–1). We also observe a temperature-dependent incorporation of incident water into the methanol layer. The implication for fundamental studies and environmental applications is that even an alcohol as simple as methanol can exhibit complex and temperature-dependent surfactant behavior.