Femtosecond mid-infrared pump–probe spectroscopy is used to study the orientational relaxation of HDO molecules dissolved in liquid D2O. In this technique, the excitation of the O–H stretch vibration is used as a label in order to follow the orientational motion of the HDO molecules. The decay of the anisotropy is nonexponential with a typical time scale of 1 ps and can be described with a model in which the reorientation time depends on frequency and in which the previously observed spectral diffusion is incorporated. From the frequency and temperature dependence of the anisotropy decay, the activation energy for reorientation can be derived. This activation energy is found to increase with increasing hydrogen bond strength.

J. Chem. Phys.
Ultrafast Spectroscopy

Nienhuys, H.-K., van Santen, R. A., & Bakker, H. (2000). Orientational relaxation of liquid water molecules as an activated process. J. Chem. Phys., 112, 8487–8494. doi:10.1063/1.481451