Gil Ben-Ari

Congratulations to Gil Ben-Ari, Ph.D. student instructed by Prof. Uri Sivan, for winning the Clore Israel Foundation Scholarship.

In her research, Gil utilizes a high-resolution atomic force microscope (AFM) to probe the interface of water and a hydrophilic crystal with unprecedented resolution. With this microscope, she acquires both surface images and three-dimensional density maps of interfacial water molecules. These reveal how water molecules arrange near specific surface sites. Even in ambient conditions, the attraction of water to hydrophilic groups on the surface is strong enough to propagate the pattern of the crystal up to three water layers away from the surface. The focus of Gil’s research is determining the mechanism of the water structure formation and its dependence on the ionic composition of the water.


Congratulations Gil!




Figure: An atomic resolution AFM scan of Muscovite mica surface, while submerged in a 100mM KCl solution. (a) shows the topography of the mica crystal as measured by the AFM probe. The atomic structure of mica is overlaid on top of the image. (b) shows the corresponding friction experienced by the AFM probe during the scan, thus indicating the attachments sites of water molecules to the mica hydrophilic surface.