Water Structure and Properties at Hydrophilic and Hydrophobic Surfaces

Jacob Monroe, Mikayla Barry, Audra DeStefano, Pinar Aydogan Gokturk, Sally Jiao, Dennis Robinson-Brown, Thomas Webber, Ethan J. Crumlin, Songi Han, M. Scott Shell

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


The properties of water on both molecular and macroscopic surfaces critically influence a wide range of physical behaviors, with applications spanning from membrane science to catalysis to protein engineering. Yet, our current understanding of water interfacing molecular and material surfaces is incomplete, in part because measurement of water structure and molecular-scale properties challenges even the most advanced experimental characterization techniques and computational approaches. This review highlights progress in the ongoing development of tools working to answer fundamental questions on the principles that govern the interactions between water and surfaces. One outstanding and critical question is what universal molecular signatures capture the hydrophobicity of different surfaces in an operationally meaningful way, since traditional macroscopic hydrophobicity measures like contact angles fail to capture even basic properties of molecular or extended surfaces with any heterogeneity at the nanometer length scale. Resolving this grand challenge will require close interactions between state-of-the-art experiments, simulations, and theory, spanning research groups and using agreed-upon model systems, to synthesize an integrated knowledge of solvation water structure, dynamics, and thermodynamics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)523-557
Number of pages35
JournalAnnual Review of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
StatePublished - Jun 7 2020


  • hydration
  • hydropathy
  • hydrophobicity
  • interfaces
  • solvation
  • Water

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)


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