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Journal Article

Anharmonic exciton dynamics and energy dissipation in liquid water from two-dimensional infrared spectroscopy


Thämer,  Martin
Department of Chemistry, James Frank Institute, and The Institute for Biophysical Dynamics, The University of Chicago;
Physical Chemistry, Fritz Haber Institute, Max Planck Society;

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De Marco, L., Fournier, J. A., Thämer, M., Carpenter, W., & Tokmakoff, A. (2016). Anharmonic exciton dynamics and energy dissipation in liquid water from two-dimensional infrared spectroscopy. The Journal of Chemical Physics, 145(9): 094501. doi:10.1063/1.4961752.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-002B-BDF2-7
Water’s extended hydrogen-bond network results in rich and complex dynamics on the sub-picosecond time scale. In this paper, we present a comprehensive analysis of the two-dimensional infrared (2D IR) spectrum of O–H stretching vibrations in liquid H2O and their interactions with bending and intermolecular vibrations. By exploring the dependence of the spectrum on waiting time, temperature, and laser polarization, we refine our molecular picture of water’s complex ultrafast dynamics. The spectral evolution following excitation of the O–H stretching resonance reveals vibrational dynamics on the 50–300 fs time scale that are dominated by intermolecular delocalization. These O–H stretch excitons are a result of the anharmonicity of the nuclear potential energy surface that arises from the hydrogen-bonding interaction. The extent of O–H stretching excitons is characterized through 2D depolarization measurements that show spectrally dependent delocalization in agreement with theoretical predictions. Furthermore, we show that these dynamics are insensitive to temperature, indicating that the exciton dynamics alone set the important time scales in the system. Finally, we study the evolution of the O–H stretching mode, which shows highly non-adiabatic dynamics suggestive of vibrational conical intersections. We argue that the so-called heating, commonly observed within ∼1 ps in nonlinear IR spectroscopy of water, is a nonequilibrium state better described by a kinetic temperature rather than a Boltzmann distribution. Our conclusions imply that the collective nature of water vibrations should be considered in describing aqueous solvation.