AbstractThe interaction of water with metal oxide surfaces is of key importance to several research fields and applications. Because of its ability to photo-catalyze water splitting, reducible anatase TiO2 (a-TiO2) is of particular interest. Here, we combine experiments and theory to study the dissociation of water on reduced a-TiO2(101). Following large water exposures at room temperature, point-like protrusions appear on the a-TiO2(101) surface, as shown by scanning tunneling microscopy (STM). These protrusions originate from hydroxyl pairs, consisting of terminal and bridging OH groups, OHt / OHb, as revealed by infrared reflection absorption spectroscopy (IRRAS) and ultraviolet photoelectron spectroscopy (UPS) experiments. Utilizing density functional theory (DFT) calculations, 2 we offer a comprehensive model of the water / a-TiO2(101) interaction that reconciles previously published data. Our model also explains why the hydroxyl pairs are stable surface species up to ~480 K, as found experimentally.
Published: August 25, 2023