Electronic spectroscopy and nanocalorimetry of hydrated magnesium ions [Mg(H2O)n]+, n = 20–70: spontaneous formation of a hydrated electron?†
Hydrated singly charged magnesium ions [Mg(H2O)n]+ are thought to consist of an Mg2+ ion and a hydrated electron for n > 15. This idea is based on mass spectra, which exhibit a transition from [MgOH(H2O)n−1]+ to [Mg(H2O)n]+ around n = 15–22, black-body infrared radiative dissociation, and quantum chemical calculations. Here, we present photodissociation spectra of size-selected [Mg(H2O)n]+ in the range of n = 20–70 measured for photon energies of 1.0–5.0 eV. The spectra exhibit a broad absorption from 1.4 to 3.2 eV, with two local maxima around 1.7–1.8 eV and 2.1–2.5 eV, depending on cluster size. The spectra shift slowly from n = 20 to n = 50, but no significant change is observed for n = 50–70. Quantum chemical modeling of the spectra yields several candidates for the observed absorptions, including five- and six-fold coordinated Mg2+ with a hydrated electron in its immediate vicinity, as well as a solvent-separated Mg2+/e− pair. The photochemical behavior resembles that of the hydrated electron, with barrierless interconversion into the ground state following the excitation.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Advances in ion spectroscopy - from astrophysics to biology