We investigate the structure and dynamics of proton solvation structures in mixed water/dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) solvents using two-color mid-infrared femtosecond pump-probe spectroscopy. At a water fraction below 20%, protons are mainly solvated as (DMSO-H)(+) and (DMSO-H)(+) -H2O structures. We find that excitation of the OH-stretch vibration of the proton in (DMSO-H)(+)-H2O structures leads to an ultrafast contraction of the hydrogen bond between (DMSO-H)(+) and H2O. This excited state relaxes rapidly with T-1 = 95 +/- 10 fs and leads in part to a strong local heating effect and in part to predissociation of the protonated cluster into (DMSO-H)(+) and water monomers.

European Research Council (ERC)
J. Phys. Chem. B
Ultrafast Spectroscopy

Sofronov, O., & Bakker, H. (2018). Energy Relaxation and Structural Dynamics of Protons in Water/DMSO Mixtures. J. Phys. Chem. B, 122(43), 10005–10013. doi:10.1021/acs.jpcb.8b06938