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Phys Rev Lett. 2006 Apr 7;96(13):138305. Epub 2006 Apr 6.

Ultrafast vibrational and structural dynamics of the proton in liquid water.

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1
FOM Institute for Atomic and Molecular Physics (AMOLF), Kruislaan 407, 1098 SJ Amsterdam, The Netherlands. s.woutersen@amolf.nl

Abstract

The dynamical behavior of excess protons in liquid water is investigated using femtosecond vibrational pump-probe spectroscopy. By resonantly exciting the O-H+-stretching mode of the H9O4(+) (Eigen) hydration structure of the proton and probing the subsequent absorption change over a broad frequency range, the dynamics of the proton is observed in real time. The lifetime of the protonic stretching mode is found to be approximately 120 fs, shorter than for any other vibration in liquid water. We also observe the interconversion between the H9O4(+) (Eigen) and H5O2(+) (Zundel) hydration structures of the proton. This interconversion, which constitutes an essential step of proton transport in water, is found to occur on an extremely fast (< 100 fs) time scale.

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