Prof. Biman Bagchi

Solid State and Structural Chemistry Unit

Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru 560 012, India

 Tuesday 30th March 4 PM Over Microsoft Teams
(URL will be posted later)


The origin of the anomalous low value of the static dielectric constant (SDC) of nanoconfined water is addressed and a few issues resolved, by considering nano-enclosures of different shapes and sizes, and using properly formulated linear response theory. While the value of the SDC remains universally low for small systems, it is different for different dielectric boundaries. Also, the response becomes anisotropic for water under non-spherical confinements. A significant role is played by the “electrically dead layer” (EDL). As the observed dielectric constant is the harmonic mean of the grid-wise SDCs, the first layer, having the smallest SDC, makes a disproportionately large contribution. This enhanced contribution, in turn, arises from the orientationally ordered surface water molecules. They exhibit reduced fluctuations in collective dipole moment, as the molecules remained partly caged due to water-surface interactions. This phenomenon is found to be universal. In our quest to develop a microscopic understanding, we study the structure and dynamics of the water molecules in different layers. We demonstrate that while the EDL remains alive at a molecular level, with a finite residence time, it exhibits timescales not substantially different compared to the distant layers of water. We explore solvation dynamics in such nanoconfined systems, and connect to protein hydration layer anomalies.

Acknowledgement : I thank Dr. Sayantan Mondal and Dr. Saumyak Mukherjee for collaborations. I thank Indian National Science Chair Professorship and DST-SERB for support.


  1. Mondal, S. and Bagchi, B., Water Layer at Hydrophobic Surface: Electrically Dead but Dynamically Alive?. Nano Lett. 20 (12), p.8959 (2020).
  2. Mondal, S. and Bagchi, B., Water in carbon nanotubes: Pronounced anisotropy in dielectric dispersion and its microscopic origin. J. Phys. Chem. Lett., 10(20), p.6287 (2019).
  3. Mondal, S., Acharya, S. and Bagchi, B., Altered polar character of nanoconfined liquid water. Phys. Rev. Research, 1(3), p.033145 (2019).
  4. Mondal, S. and Bagchi, B., How different are the dynamics of nanoconfined water?. J. Chem. Phys., 152(22), p.224707 (2020).
  5. Bagchi, B., Water dynamics in the hydration layer around proteins and micelles. Chem. Rev., 105(9), p.3197 (2005).
  6. B Bagchi, Untangling complex dynamics of biological water at protein–water interface PNAS (2016).