PhD Defence Edwin Dollekamp

dynamics of water between graphene and mica

Edwin Dollekamp is a PhD student in the research group Physics of Interfaces and Nanomaterials (PIN). His supervisor is H.J.W. Zandvliet from the Faculty of Science and Technology.

The behavior of water under confinement is of utmost importance for the field of electrocatalysis, nanofluidics and lubrication. The dynamics of water under confinement are significantly different as compared to bulk water. Experimental knowledge of confined water is challenging to obtain due to the confined nature of the water, and therefore limited access to the water structures. With the discovery of the two-dimensional material graphene in combination with scanning probe microscopy, a new approach to in-situ study confined water layers was born. The mechanical properties of graphene like its flexibility, impermeability and atomic thickness make it a perfect cover to study the water molecules. In this thesis, I cover the dynamic properties of water on mica, covered with a graphene coating. Different dynamics are studied, e.g. electrolysis of the confined water molecules to hydrogen nanobubbles, the influence of charges on the graphene, and the influence of the confined molecules on the mechanical properties of the graphene. The studies expand our experimentally obtained knowledge of confined water which will find applications in future devices.