Intrinsic structure and dynamics of the water/nitrobenzene interface

Jorge, Miguel and Cordeiro, M. Natalia D. S. (2007) Intrinsic structure and dynamics of the water/nitrobenzene interface. Journal of Physical Chemistry C, 111 (47). pp. 17612-17626. ISSN 1932-7447 (

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In this paper we present results of a detailed and systematic molecular dynamics study of the water/nitrobenzene interface. Using a simple procedure to eliminate fluctuations of the interface position, we are able to obtain true intrinsic profiles for several properties (density, hydrogen bonds, molecular orientation, etc.) in the direction perpendicular to the interfacial plane. Our results show that both water and organic inter-facial molecules form a tightly packed layer oriented parallel to the interface, with reduced mobility in the perpendicular direction. Beyond this layer, water quickly restores its bulk structure, while nitrobenzene exhibits structural anisotropies that extend further into the bulk region: Water molecules that protrude farthest into the organic phase point one hydrogen atom in the direction perpendicular to the interface, forming a hydrogen bond with a nitrobenzene oxygen. By fitting both the global and the intrinsic density profiles, we obtain estimates for the total and intrinsic interface widths, respectively. These are combined with capillary wave theory to produce a self-consistent method for the calculation of the inter-facial tension. Values calculated using this method are in very good agreement with direct calculations from the components of the pressure tensor.