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Science. 2001 Jan 5;291(5501):100-3.

Evidence for coherent proton tunneling in a hydrogen bond network.

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  • 1School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, NG7 2RD, UK.


We observed coherent proton tunneling in the cyclic network of four hydrogen bonds in calix[4]arene. The tunneling frequency of 35 megahertz was revealed by a peak in the magnetic field dependence of the proton spin-lattice relaxation rate measured with field-cycling nuclear magnetic resonance in the solid state at temperatures below 80 kelvin. The amplitude of the coherent tunneling peak grows with temperature according to a Boltzmann law with energy D/kB = (125 +/- 10) kelvin (where kB is Boltzmann's constant). The tunneling peak can be interpreted in the context of level crossings in the region where the tunneling frequency matches the proton Larmor frequency. The tunneling spectrum reveals fine structure that we attribute to coupling between the hydrogen bonds in the network. The characteristics of the tunneling peak are interpreted in the context of the potential energy surface experienced by the hydrogen atoms in the network.

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