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SFB Publication in Phys. Rev. Lett.: Highlighted by APS

Simulation snapshot for a nm-thick water layer

Simulation snapshot for a nm-thick water layer
Image Credit: APS: Schlaich et al., Phys. Rev. Lett. (2016)

Schlaich et al. (2016) Water Dielectric Effects in Planar Confinement. Phys Rev Lett 117, 048001.

News from Jul 22, 2016

The SFB members Roland Netz (project C1) and co-worker Alexander Schlaich in collaboration with Ernst-Walter Knapp (project C2) published a research article in Physical Review Letters of the American Physical Society on "Water Dielectric Effects in Planar Confinement" (1). In addition, an APS Physics Synopsis "Water Under Confinement" (2) was released, featuring the notable paper of the SFB members.

Applying atomistic molecular dynamics simulations, Schlaich et al. (1) modeled the dielectric behaviour of ultrathin water layers between two planar polar walls. The authors report that for water slabs thicker than 1 nm, the dielectric permittivity is almost the same as that of bulk water. However, if the slab thickness is below 1 nm, the dielectric response becomes highly anisotropic, with a parallel component similar to bulk values whereas the perpendicular component decreases tremendously, an observation which was assigned to the anticorrelated polarization of neighboring water molecules. "This finding will help scientists understand biological processes occurring in subnanometer water layers, such as ion dynamics in the tightly stacked membranes of certain photosynthetic complexes" (2).


  1. Schlaich, A., Knapp, E.W., and Netz, R.R. (2016). Water Dielectric Effects in Planar Confinement. Phys Rev Lett 117, 048001 (doi: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.117.048001).
  2. (2016). Synopsis: Water Under Confinement. APS Physics.
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