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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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Article information


Submitted
15 Nov 2018
Accepted
18 Jun 2019
First published
19 Jun 2019

This article is Open Access
All publication charges for this article have been paid for by the Royal Society of Chemistry

Chem. Sci., 2019,10, 7442-7448
Article type
Edge Article

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

This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported Licence. Material from this article can be used in other publications provided that the correct acknowledgement is given with the reproduced material and it is not used for commercial purposes.

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