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Studying water and aqueous TMAO solutions under high pressure and supercritical conditions
  Molecular Physics seminar

Monday 11 April 2016
from 10:00 to 11:00
at FB55
Speaker : Hendrik Vondracek (Ruhr-University Bochum)
Abstract : Studies of water under extreme conditions (high and low temperatures, extreme pressures) are of particular scientific interest. Understanding the properties of water under extreme conditions is not only a fundamental prerequisite for a better understanding of geological and biological processes and the exploitation of various technical applications, but is also widely believed to be fundamental for a deeper understanding of the structure of water under ambient conditions [1]. Under high pressures and temperatures to the supercritical regime, the structure of water and the hydrogen bond network show peculiar features, e.g. Clustering [2]. TMAO is an organic compound that is found in deep-sea fish in a concentration that is increasing with depth [3]. It is also known that it may counteract pressure-induced destabilization of proteins. However, the influence of TMAO on hydrogen-bonding under high-pressure conditions has not yet been studied. Our research project aims at investigating the change of hydrogen-bonding in water and aqueous TMAO solutions at high pressure and/or high temperature conditions by means of THz absorption spectroscopy. THz spectroscopy is an ideal tool to study the structural properties of water and aqueous solutions as it allows for a direct study of the intermolecular hydrogen-bond network. The principle of this spectroscopic technique and specific experimental challenges will be explained. Furthermore, first results of spectroscopic measurements of water under high pressure conditions will be presented. [1] A.Nilsson, L.G.M. Pettersson - Perspective on the structure of liquid water - Chem. Phys., 389,1-34 (2011). [2] Q.Sun, Q. Wang and D. Ding - Hydrogen Bonded Networks in Supercritical Water - J. Phys. Chem. B, 118, 11253-11258 (2014) [3] Yancey et al. - Marine fish may be biochemically constrained from inhabiting the deepest ocean depths, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U. S. A., 111, 4461–4465 (2014)

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