Looking on the bright side, the general lockdown we are living has its perks, like learning to enjoy the beauty of small things. One of them is the (mesmerizing) video on the dynamics of confined water that researchers from ICIQ’s Bo group have created.
In collaboration with international institutions, the Bo group has published a paper in The Journal of Physical Chemistry C where they dive into the distribution of water confined in molybdenum oxide nano-capsules with varied inner ligands. The researchers have used contrast variation small-angle neutron scattering (CV-SANS) techniques to pinpoint the behaviour of water in the capsules. The experimental approach has been complemented with computational work to provide structural details of the formation of the water distribution patterns (as well as hypnotic videos) and concluding that the density of the confined water molecules dynamically responds to variations in their surroundings. Like at the macroscopic level, the effects of confinement become not negligible: the properties of confined water are different from those of bulk water.
Aside from its aesthetic value, the work will help further the understanding of self-assembly and folding behaviours of macromolecular structures such as proteins, as these are generally regulated by their interactions with water molecules.
The video shows an animation of water probability isosurfaces (the three-dimensional analogue of an isoline) inside and outside a molybdenum oxide nano-capsule.
Melgar, D.; Zhou, Q.; Chakraborty, S.; Porcar, L.; Weinstock, I. A.; Bonet Avalos, J.; Wu, B.; Bo, C.; Yin, P.