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Phys Rev Lett. 2016 Apr 22;116(16):167802. doi: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.116.167802. Epub 2016 Apr 22.

Quantum Tunneling of Water in Beryl: A New State of the Water Molecule.

Author information

1
Chemical and Engineering Materials Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tennessee 37831, USA.
2
Physics Department, University of Houston, Houston, Texas 77204, USA.
3
Math and Science Division, Lake Washington Institute of Technology, Kirkland, Washington 98034, USA; School of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, University of Washington, Bothell, Washington 98011, USA.
4
Chemical Sciences Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tennessee 37831, USA.
5
Quantum Condensed Matter Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tennessee 37831, USA.
6
ISIS Facility, Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, Chilton, Didcot OX11 0QX, United Kingdom.

Abstract

Using neutron scattering and ab initio simulations, we document the discovery of a new "quantum tunneling state" of the water molecule confined in 5 Å channels in the mineral beryl, characterized by extended proton and electron delocalization. We observed a number of peaks in the inelastic neutron scattering spectra that were uniquely assigned to water quantum tunneling. In addition, the water proton momentum distribution was measured with deep inelastic neutron scattering, which directly revealed coherent delocalization of the protons in the ground state.

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