Optoelectronic properties of confined water in angstrom-scale slits

S Shekarforoush and H Jalali and M Yagmurcukardes and MV Milosevic and M Neek-Amal, PHYSICAL REVIEW B, 102, 235406 (2020).

DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevB.102.235406

The optoelectronic properties of confined water form one of the most active research areas in the past few years. Here we present the multiscale methodology to discern the out-of-plane electronic and dipolar dielectric constants (epsilon(el)(perpendicular to) and epsilon(diP)(perpendicular to)) of strongly confined water. We reveal that epsilon(perpendicular to el) and epsilon(diP)(perpendicular to) become comparable for water confined in angstrom-scale channels (with a height of less than 15 angstrom) within graphene (GE) and hexagonal boron nitride (hBN) bilayers. Channel height (h) associated with a minimum in both epsilon(e)(l)(perpendicular to) and epsilon(dip)(perpendicular to) is linked to the formation of the ordered structure of ice for h approximate to (7 -7.5) angstrom. The recently measured total dielectric constant epsilon(T)(perpendicular to) of nanoconfined water L. Fumagalli et al., Science 360, 1339 (2018) is corroborated by our results. Furthermore, we evaluate the contribution from the encapsulating membranes to the dielectric properties, as a function of the interlayer spacing, i.e., the height of the confining channel for water. Finally, we conduct analysis of the optical properties of both confined water and GE membranes, and show that the electron energy loss function of confined water strongly differs from that of bulk water.

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