Editors' ChoiceWater Chemistry

Neon nudges clusters toward bulk liquid

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Science  31 Mar 2017:
Vol. 355, Issue 6332, pp. 1387-1388
DOI: 10.1126/science.355.6332.1387-f

It is hard to get a global sense of what is happening at the molecular level in a drop of water. The hydrogen bonds responsible for the molecules' mutual attraction are in a constant state of flux. Chemists have learned a lot about the underlying structure by studying cold, isolated clusters that contain just a few molecules at a time. However, these clusters sometimes close in on themselves in tighter arrangements than the bulk liquid typically hosts. Douberly et al. show that a neon atom can nudge water tetramers formed in helium droplets to adopt the more open geometries prevalent in the bulk, facilitating detailed study of these motifs.

J. Am. Chem. Soc. 10.1021/jacs.7b00510 (2017).

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