Cluster Solutions

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Science  09 Nov 2001:
Vol. 294, Issue 5545, pp. 1292-1293
DOI: 10.1126/science.1066731

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What is the structure of water molecules around ions in solution? Researchers trying to answer this seemingly simple question have looked to small gas phase clusters for an answer. In the case of singly charged ions, small clusters of just six water molecules surrounding an ion can provide important insights, but as Stace explains in his Perspective, multiply charged ions behave differently. He highlights the report by Wang et al., who show that for doubly charged anions, at least two shells of water molecules must be considered to understand the solvation behavior. Cluster studies may also help explain interactions between metal ions and water in biological systems.