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Surface spectroscopy

Between a rock and a soft place

The critical step in water splitting is the formation of a peroxo bond; the mechanism, thought to involve oxyl radical formation, remains elusive. Now, experiments reveal a distinct bond vibration directly connected to an oxyl radical that is simultaneously coupled to both the semiconductor electronic states and the motion of the surrounding water.

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Figure 1: An interfacial vibrational mode for monitoring water splitting.


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Correspondence to Poul B. Petersen.

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Vanselous, H., Petersen, P. Between a rock and a soft place. Nature Chem 8, 527–528 (2016).

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