Kelly Lectures: Water in Confinement

Event Date: March 18, 2008
Speaker: Dr. Pablo Debenedetti
Speaker Affiliation: Department of Chemical Engineering, Princeton University
Time: 3:30 - 4:30 pm
Location: FRNY G140

Confining surfaces that contain thin water films are ubiquitous in biology, engineering and materials
science. Understanding the effects of surfaces on the dynamics, structure and thermodynamics of
proximal water is of interest in applications ranging from lab-on-a-chip technologies to the design
of super-hydrophobic surfaces. Molecular simulation is a powerful tool for probing the behavior of
water in nano-scale confinement. Careful tuning of surface hydrophobicity and hydrophilicity leads
to the formation of a variety of layered phases, allows sensitive control of the mechanical properties
of amorphous films, and provides fundamental insight on the importance of drying transitions near
atomically-smooth and biological confining environments. The microscopic detail obtained from
simulation, augmented by a rigorous thermodynamic framework, enables the rational analysis of
experimental observations and facilitates the engineering design of new materials.