Microdroplet Chemistry

Seminar | October 8 | 4-5 p.m. | 120 Latimer Hall

 Richard Zare, Department of Chemistry, Stanford University

 College of Chemistry

Water is extremely common on Earth but also one of the most mysterious of compounds in which the solid form (ice) floats on its melt. Bulk water is celebrated as an excellent solvent, particularly of polar compounds, and also as a relatively inert medium. It is often said to be fully oxidized hydrogen and there is not more that can happen to it. In sharp contrast, water droplets show unexpected reactivity. The rates of many reactions are markedly accelerated in droplets compared to the rates of the same reactions in bulk. Moreover, some reactions occur in droplets that kinetically do not or thermodynamically cannot occur in bulk solution. This presentation is about microdroplet chemistry, especially about reactions that occur in micron-size water droplets (microdroplets) and what are the underlying physical mechanisms that make water droplets so different from bulk water. Almost all the work has been sponsored by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) to whom the speaker owes a great debt of gratitude.