Nanometer patterning of water by tetraanionic ferrocyanide stabilized in aqueous nanodrops
Formation of the small, highly charged tetraanion ferrocyanide, Fe(CN)64−, stabilized in aqueous nanodrops is reported. Ion–water interactions inside these nanodrops are probed using blackbody infrared radiative dissociation, infrared photodissociation (IRPD) spectroscopy, and molecular modeling in order to determine how water molecules stabilize this highly charged anion and the extent to which the tetraanion patterns the hydrogen-bonding network of water at long distance. Fe(CN)64−(H2O)38 is the smallest cluster formed directly by nanoelectrospray ionization. Ejection of an electron from this ion to form Fe(CN)63−(H2O)38 occurs with low-energy activation, but loss of a water molecule is favored at higher energy indicating that water molecule loss is entropically favored over loss of an electron. The second solvation shell is almost complete at this cluster size indicating that nearly two solvent shells are required to stabilize this highly charged anion. The extent of solvation necessary to stabilize these clusters with respect to electron loss is substantially lower through ion pairing with either H+ or K+ (n = 17 and 18, respectively). IRPD spectra of Fe(CN)64−(H2O)n show the emergence of a free O–H water molecule stretch between n = 142 and 162 indicating that this ion patterns the structure of water molecules within these nanodrops to a distance of at least ∼1.05 nm from the ion. These results provide new insights into how water stabilizes highly charged ions and demonstrate that highly charged anions can have a significant effect on the hydrogen-bonding network of water molecules well beyond the second and even third solvation shells.