Dancing 'Adatoms' Help Chemists Understand How Water Molecules Split

Monday, March 23, 2009 - 11:25 in Physics & Chemistry

Single oxygen atoms dancing on metal oxide have helped chemists better understand how water splits into oxygen and hydrogen. In the process, the scientists have visualized a chemical reaction that had previously only been talked about. The scientists made the discovery while studying the basics of how titanium dioxide -- a compound sometimes found in sunscreen -- breaks down water, reactions that are central to processes such as hydrogen production, decomposing pollutants, and solar energy.

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