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J Phys Chem B. 2009 Oct 22;113(42):13953-8. doi: 10.1021/jp908163w.

Effect of radiant energy on near-surface water.

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  • 1Department of Bioengineering, Box 355061, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195, USA.


While recent research on interfacial water has focused mainly on the few interfacial layers adjacent to the solid boundary, century-old studies have extensively shown that macroscopic domains of liquids near interfaces acquire features different from the bulk. Interest in these long-range effects has been rekindled by recent observations showing that colloidal and molecular solutes are excluded from extensive regions next to many hydrophilic surfaces [Zheng and Pollack Phys. Rev. E 2003, 68, 031408]. Studies of these aqueous "exclusion zones" reveal a more ordered phase than bulk water, with local charge separation between the exclusion zones and the regions beyond [Zheng et al. Colloid Interface Sci. 2006, 127, 19; Zheng and Pollack Water and the Cell: Solute exclusion and potential distribution near hydrophilic surfaces; Springer: Netherlands, 2006; pp 165-174], here confirmed using pH measurements. The main question, however, is where the energy for building these charged, low-entropy zones might come from. It is shown that radiant energy profoundly expands these zones in a reversible, wavelength-dependent manner. It appears that incident radiant energy may be stored in the water as entropy loss and charge separation.

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