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Issue 31, 2019
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Picture of the wet electron: a localized transient state in liquid water

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Abstract

A transient state of the excess electron in liquid water preceding the development of the solvation shell, the so-called wet electron, has been invoked to explain spectroscopic observations, but its binding energy and atomic structure have remained highly elusive. Here, we carry out hybrid functional molecular dynamics to unveil the ultrafast solvation mechanism leading to the hydrated electron. In the pre-hydrated regime, the electron is found to repeatedly switch between a quasi-free electron state in the conduction band and a localized state with a binding energy of 0.26 eV, which we assign to the wet electron. This transient state self-traps in a region of the liquid which extends up to ∼4.5 Å and involves a severe disruption of the hydrogen-bond network. Our picture provides an unprecedented view on the nature of the wet electron, which is instrumental to understanding the properties of this fundamental species in liquid water.

Graphical abstract: Picture of the wet electron: a localized transient state in liquid water

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Publication details

The article was received on 15 Nov 2018, accepted on 18 Jun 2019 and first published on 19 Jun 2019


Article type: Edge Article
DOI: 10.1039/C8SC05101A
Chem. Sci., 2019,10, 7442-7448
  • Open access: Creative Commons BY-NC license
    All publication charges for this article have been paid for by the Royal Society of Chemistry

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    Picture of the wet electron: a localized transient state in liquid water

    M. Pizzochero, F. Ambrosio and A. Pasquarello, Chem. Sci., 2019, 10, 7442
    DOI: 10.1039/C8SC05101A

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