PerspectiveMOLECULAR SPECTROSCOPY

Ultrafast Glimpses at Water and Ice

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Science  05 Mar 1999:
Vol. 283, Issue 5407, pp. 1467-1468
DOI: 10.1126/science.283.5407.1467

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Summary

Water, a seemingly simply molecule, displays some unusual properties: The most widely known is the density minimum at 4 degrees Celsius above the freezing point. In his Perspective Heilweil explains how modern ultrafast spectroscopic techniques and molecular dynamics simulations help to understand the molecular microdynamics that lead to these unusual properties. Coupling between molecular vibrations and intermolecular hydrogen bonds play an important role, although the exact details of these processes remain controversial.