Extracting the pair distribution function of liquids and liquid-vapor surfaces by grazing incidence x-ray diffraction mode

  • Vaknin D
  • Bu W
  • Travesset A
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We show that the structure factor S(q) of water can be obtained from x-ray synchrotron experiments at grazing angle of incidence (in reflection mode) by using a liquid surface diffractometer. The corrections used to obtain S(q) self-consistently are described. Applying these corrections to scans at different incident beam angles (above the critical angle) collapses the measured intensities into a single master curve, without fitting parameters, which within a scale factor yields S(q). Performing the measurements below the critical angle for total reflectivity yields the structure factor of the top most layers of the water/vapor interface. Our results indicate water restructuring at the vapor/water interface. We also introduce a new approach to extract g(r), the pair distribution function (PDF), by expressing the PDF as a linear sum of error functions whose parameters are refined by applying a nonlinear least square fit method. This approach enables a straightforward determination of the inherent uncertainties in the PDF. Implications of our results to previously measured and theoretical predictions of the PDF are also discussed.

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  • David Vaknin

  • Wei Bu

  • Alex Travesset

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