Molecular reorientation of liquid water studied with femtosecond midinfrared spectroscopy
The molecular reorientation of liquid water is key to the hydration and stabilization of molecules and ions in aqueous solution. A powerful technique to study this reorientation is to measure the time-dependent anisotropy of the excitation of the O-H/O-D stretch vibration of HDO dissolved in D2O/H2O using femtosecond midinfrared laser pulses. In this paper, we present and discuss experiments in which this technique is used to study the correlation between the molecular reorientation of the water molecules and the strength of the hydrogen-bond interactions. On short time scales (<200 fs), it was found that the anisotropy shows a partial decay due to librational motions of the water molecules that keep the hydrogen bond intact. On longer time scale (>200 fs), the anisotropy shows a complete decay with an average time constant of 2.5 ps. From the frequency dependence of the anisotropy dynamics, it follows that a subensemble of the water molecules shows a fast reorientation that is accompanied by a large change of the vibrational frequency. This finding agrees with the molecular jumping mechanism for the reorientation of liquid water that has recently been proposed by Laage and Hynes.