Electrons Take the Plunge

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Science  14 Jul 2000:
Vol. 289, Issue 5477, pp. 219
DOI: 10.1126/science.289.5477.219b

Ultraviolet radiation can create solvated electrons in water, but the dynamics of this process, which has important implications in chemistry and biology, have been difficult to unravel. Laenen et al. obtained mid-infrared spectra with femtosecond resolution and have identified two charge-transfer intermediates that precede the formation of a “wet electron.” Excitation of water with 9-electron volt photons leads first to the formation of H3O+ and a complex between an OH radical and an electron. The complex, which has a lifetime of 110 femtoseconds, decays to form a trapped electron. This species then adds water-solvent molecules, forming the wet electron and then the fully solvated electron. These studies illustrate how even the simplest of solvation processes, surrounding a bare electron with a water-solvent cage, can be an intricate, multistep reaction. — PDS

Phys. Rev. Lett. 85, 50 (2000).

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