Tracking all-vapor instant gas-hydrate formation and guest molecule populations: A possible probe for molecules trapped in water nanodroplets

Uras-Aytemiz N., Cwiklik L., Devlin J. P.

JOURNAL OF CHEMICAL PHYSICS, vol.137, no.20, 2012 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 137 Issue: 20
  • Publication Date: 2012
  • Doi Number: 10.1063/1.4767370
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Süleyman Demirel University Affiliated: Yes


Quantitative Fourier-transform infrared spectra for low-temperature (160-200 K) aerosols of clathrate-hydrate nanoparticles that contain large-cage catalysts and small-cage nonpolar guests have been extended to a broad range of vapor compositions and sampling conditions. The data better reveal the stages by which room-temperature vapor mixtures, when cooled below similar to 220 K, instantly generate aerosols with particles composed exclusively of the corresponding clathrate hydrates. In particular the quantitative data help relate the nature of the hydrates that form to the composition of the aqueous nanodroplets of the first stages of the rapid transition from the all-vapor mixture. The overall transition from an all-vapor mixture to "gas"-hydrate nanocrystals is a multistage one that has been characterized as homogeneous nucleation and growth of solution nanodroplets (similar to 240 K) followed by nucleation and growth of the gas-hydrate particles (similar to 220 K); all occurring within a subsecond that follows pulsing of the warm vapor into a sampling cold chamber. This may serve well as a general description of the instantaneous generation of the gas-hydrate aerosols, but closer consideration of the nature of the sampling method, in context with recent computation-based insights to (a) gas-hydrate nucleation stages/rates and (b) the lifetimes of trapped small nonpolar molecules in cold aqueous nanodroplets, suggests a more complex multistage transition. The simulated lifetimes and extensive new quantitative infrared data significantly broaden the knowledge base in which the instantaneous transition from vapor to crystalline hydrate particles is viewed. The apparent need for a high occupancy of large-cage catalytic guest molecules currently limits the practical value of the all-vapor method. Only through greater clarity in the molecular-level description of the transition will the ultimate limits be defined. (C) 2012 American Institute of Physics. []