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J Phys Chem B. 2009 Jun 11;113(23):8128-36. doi: 10.1021/jp811346x.

Hydration of carboxylate anions: infrared spectroscopy of aqueous solutions.


Hydration of carboxylate ions was studied in aqueous solutions of sodium salts by means of FTIR spectroscopy using the HDO molecule as a probe. The quantitative version of the difference spectra method has been applied to determine the solute-affected water spectra. They display two-component bands of affected HDO at ca. 2550 and 2420 cm(-1). These bands are attributed to the -COO(-) group of the R-COO(-) ion (R = H, CH(3), C(2)H(5)), because water molecules surrounding the substituent R behave roughly as molecules in the bulk phase. For the studied carboxylates the net water structure making effect is observed, which increases with electron-donor ability of R, by means of changing the relative intensity of solute-affected HDO component bands. The observed splitting of the carboxylate-ion-affected HDO band is unique for these anions. The experimental results were confronted with DFT-calculated structures of small gas-phase and polarizable continuum model (PCM) solvated aqueous clusters to establish the structural and energetic states of carboxylate ions hydrates. This was achieved by comparison of the calculated optimal geometries with the interatomic distances derived from HDO band positions. Different possibilities have been considered to explain the peculiar spectral results. The plausible explanation assumes symmetry breaking of the carboxylate ion induced by interaction with water solvent: C-O bond lengths of RCOO(-) and electric charge localization become unequal. It is demonstrated by nonequivalent interaction of oxygen atoms of the RCOO(-) anion with water molecules. Taking into account only the energetic effect, the phenomenon is explained by the anticooperative H-bond formation of the carboxylate group with water molecules, which increases with the electron-donor ability of the substituent R. In this interaction two water molecules play an important part, as appears from the calculated clusters. They interact with oxygen atoms of the RCOO(-) ion, forming a cooperative system, within which solvent molecules are nonequivalent with respect to H-bond formation with both proton-accepting sites of the solute. This additionally enhances solvent-induced symmetry breaking of carboxylate anion. Strongly hydrogen-bonded solvent is more effective in inducing symmetry breaking; thus, increasing the temperature decreases the splitting of the carboxylate-ion-affected water, as experimentally observed.

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