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On the Local Environment Surrounding Pyrene in Near- and Supercritical Water

Volume 51, Number 10 (Oct. 1997) Page 1547-1553

Niemeyer, Emily D.; Dunbar, Richard A.; Bright, Frank V.


We use steady-state and time-resolved fluorescence spectroscopy to probe local solvent-solute interactions between pyrene (the solute) and supercritical water (SCW). Toward this end, we have developed a new fiber-optic-based titanium high-pressure optical cell which can withstand the temperatures and pressure needed to generate supercritical water. Static fluorescence measurements indicate that there is an increase in the local water density surrounding the pyrene molecules (clustering) up to five times the bulk fluid density. This extent of clustering is most prevalent at about one-half the critical density. Consistent with previous work on more mild supercritical fluids (e.g., CO2, CF3H, C2H6), the extent of this solute fluid clustering decreases as the system temperature and pressure are increased. Time-resolved fluorescence measurements show that the excited-state decay kinetics are exponentially activated and not themselves affected by this solute-fluid clustering process.