Physical Chemistry

Probing the Electronic Structure of Bulk Water at the Molecular Lengthscale with Angle-Resolved Photoelectron Spectroscopy


We report a combined experimental and theoretical study of bulk water photoionization. Angular distributions of photoelectrons produced by ionizing the valence band of neat water using X-ray radiation (250-750 eV) show a limited (<30 %) decrease in the beta anisotropy parameter compared to the gas phase, indicating that the electronic structure of the individual water molecules can be probed. By theoretical modeling using high-level electronic structure methods, we show that in a high-energy regime photoionization of bulk can be described as an incoherent superposition of individual molecules, in contrast to a low-energy regime where photoionization probes delocalized entangled states of molecular aggregates. The two regimes-low energy versus high energy-are defined as limiting cases where the de Broglie wavelength of the photoelectron is either larger or smaller than the intermolecular distance between water molecules, respectively.


Thumbnail image of Water_PAD_Final.pdf