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Calcium silicate hydrates are members of a large family of minerals with layered structures containing pendant CaOH and SiOH groups that interact with confined water molecules. To rationalize the impact of the local chemical environment on the dynamics of water, SiOH- and CaOH-rich model nanocrystals were synthesized by using the continuous supercritical hydrothermal method and then systematically studied by a combination of spectroscopic techniques. In our comprehensive analysis, the ultrafast relaxation dynamics of hanging hydroxy groups can be univocally assigned to CaOH or SiOH environments, and the local chemical environment largely affects the H-bond network of the solvation water. Interestingly, the ordered "ice-like" solvation water found in the SiOH-rich environments is converted to a disordered "liquid-like" distribution in the CaOH-rich environment. This refined picture of the dynamics of confined water and hydroxy groups in calcium silicate hydrates can also be applied to other water-containing materials, with a significant impact in many fields of materials science.


Musumeci, Valentina;  Goracci, Guido;  Sanz Camacho, Paula;  Dolado, Jorge S.;  Aymonier, Cyril

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