Rapid water dynamics structures the OH-stretching spectra of solitary water in ionic liquids and dipolar solvents

S Palchowdhury and K Mukherjee and M Maroncelli, JOURNAL OF CHEMICAL PHYSICS, 157, 084502 (2022).

DOI: 10.1063/5.0107348

In a recent study J. Phys. Chem. B 126, 4584-4598 (2022), we have used infrared spectroscopy to investigate the solvation and dynamics of solitary water in ionic liquids and dipolar solvents. Complex shapes observed for water OH-stretching bands, common to all high-polarity solvents, were assigned to water in several solvation states. In the present study, classical molecular dynamics simulations of a single water molecule in four ionic liquids and three dipolar solvents were used to test and refine this interpretation. Consistent with past assignments, simulations show solitary water usually donates two hydrogen bonds to distinct solvent molecules. Such symmetrically solvated water produces the primary pair of peaks identified in the OH spectra of water in nearly all solvents. We had further proposed that additional features flanking this main peak are due to asymmetric solvation states, states in which only one OH group makes a hydrogen bond to solvent. Such states were found in significant concentrations in all of the systems simulated. Simulations of the OH stretching spectra using a semiclassical description and the vibrational map developed by Auer and Skinner J. Chem. Phys. 128, 224511-224512 (2008) provided semi-quantitative agreement with experiment. Analysis of species- specific spectra confirmed assignment of the additional features in the experimental spectra to asymmetrically solvated water. The simulations also showed that rapid water motions cause a marked motional narrowing compared with the inhomogeneous limit. This narrowing is largely responsible for making the additional features due to minority solvation states manifest in the spectra.

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