Journal article

The Environmental Photochemistry of Oxide Surfaces and the Nature of Frozen Salt Solutions: A New in Situ XPS Approach

Recent years have witnessed fast advancements in near ambient pressure X-ray photoelectron (NAPP) spectroscopy, which is emerging as a powerful tool for the investigation of surfaces in presence of vapors and liquids. In this paper we present a new chamber for the investigation of solid/vapor interfaces relevant to environmental and atmospheric chemistry that fits to the NAPP endstation at the Swiss Light Source. The new chamber allows for performing X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and electron yield near-edge X-ray absorption fine structure spectroscopy (NEXAFS) using soft, tender and hard X-ray in vacuum and in near-ambient pressures up to 20 mbar at environmentally relevant conditions of temperature and relative humidity. In addition, the flow tube design of the chamber enables the dosing of sticky reactive gases with short pressure equilibration time. The accessible photoelectron kinetic energy ranges from 2 to 7000 eV. This range allows the determination of surface and bulk electronic properties of ice and other environmental materials, such as metal oxides and frozen solutions, which are relevant to understanding atmospheric chemistry. The design of this instrument and first results on systems of great interest to the environmental and atmospheric chemistry community are presented. In particular, near-ambient pressure XPS and NEXAFS, coupled to a UV-laser setup, were used to study the adsorption of water on a TiO2 powder sample. The results are in line with previously proposed adsorption models of water on TiO2, and, furthermore, indicate that the concentration of water molecules tends to increase upon UV irradiation. In a second example we illustrate how NEXAFS spectroscopy measurements at the chlorine K-edge can provide new insight on the structures of eutectic and sub-eutectic frozen NaCl solutions at high and low relative humidity, respectively, indicating the formation of solution and solid NaCl phases, respectively. Finally, we demonstrate the assets of this new chamber for the dosing of sticky acidic gases and, in particular, for the investigation of formic acid uptake on ice surfaces.


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