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The Inhomogeneous Structure of Water at Ambient Conditions
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physics. (Kvantkemi)
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2009 (English)In: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, ISSN 0027-8424, E-ISSN 1091-6490, Vol. 106, 15214-15218 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) is used to demonstrate the presence of density fluctuations in ambient water on a physical length-scale of ≈1 nm; this is retained with decreasing temperature while the magnitude is enhanced. In contrast, the magnitude of fluctuations in a normal liquid, such as CCl4, exhibits no enhancement with decreasing temperature, as is also the case for water from molecular dynamics simulations under ambient conditions. Based on X-ray emission spectroscopy and X-ray Raman scattering data we propose that the density difference contrast in SAXS is due to fluctuations between tetrahedral-like and hydrogen-bond distorted structures related to, respectively, low and high density water. We combine our experimental observations to propose a model of water as a temperature-dependent, fluctuating equilibrium between the two types of local structures driven by incommensurate requirements for minimizing enthalpy (strong near-tetrahedral hydrogen-bonds) and maximizing entropy (nondirectional H-bonds and disorder). The present results provide experimental evidence that the extreme differences anticipated in the hydrogen-bonding environment in the deeply supercooled regime surprisingly remain in bulk water even at conditions ranging from ambient up to close to the boiling point.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2009. Vol. 106, 15214-15218 p.
National Category
Atom and Molecular Physics and Optics
Research subject
Chemical Physics
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-32156DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0904743106ISI: 000269632400025OAI: diva2:279652
Available from: 2009-12-04 Created: 2009-12-04 Last updated: 2011-04-26Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Structure, Dynamics and Thermodynamics of Liquid Water: Insights from Molecular Simulations
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Structure, Dynamics and Thermodynamics of Liquid Water: Insights from Molecular Simulations
2011 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Water is a complex liquid with many unusual properties. Our understanding of its physical, chemical and biological properties is greatly advanced after a century of dedicated research but there are still many unresolved questions. If answered, they could have important long-term consequences for practical applications ranging from drug design to water purification. This thesis presents results on the structure, dynamics and thermodynamics of liquid water. The focus is on theoretical simulations applied to interpret experimental data from mainly x-ray and neutron scattering and spectroscopy techniques. The structural sensitivity of x-ray and neutron diffraction is investigated using reverse Monte Carlo simulations and information on the pair-correlation functions of water is derived. A new method for structure modeling of computationally demanding data sets is presented and used to resolve an inconsistency between experimental extended x-ray absorption fine-structure and diffraction data regarding oxygen-oxygen pair-correlations. Small-angle x-ray scattering data are modeled using large-scale classical molecular dynamics simulations, and the observed enhanced scattering at supercooled temperatures is connected to the presence of a Widom line emanating from a liquid-liquid critical point in the deeply supercooled high pressure regime. An investigation of inherent structures reveals an underlying structural bimodality in the simulations connected to disordered high-density and ordered low-density molecules, providing a clearer interpretation of experimental small-angle scattering data. Dynamical anomalies in supercooled water observed in inelastic neutron scattering experiments, manifested by low-frequency collective excitations resembling a boson peak, are investigated and found to be connected to the thermodynamically defined Widom line. Finally, x-ray absorption spectra are calculated for simulated water structures using density functional theory. An approximation of intra-molecular zero-point vibrational effects is found to significantly improve the relative spectral intensities but a structural investigation indicates that the classical simulations underestimate the amount of broken hydrogen bonds.

Abstract [sv]

Vatten är en komplex vätska med flera ovanliga egenskaper. Vår förståelse av dess fysiska, kemiska och biologiska egenskaper har utvecklats mycket sedan systematiska vetenskapliga studier började genomföras för mer än ett sekel sedan, men många viktiga frågor är fortfarande obesvarade. En ökad förståelse skulle på sikt kunna leda till framsteg inom viktiga områden så som medicinutveckling och vattenrening. Denna avhandling presenterar resultat kring vattnets struktur, dynamik och termodynamik. Fokusen ligger på teoretiska simuleringar som använts för att tolka experimentella data från huvudsakligen röntgen- och neutronspridning samt spektroskopier. Den strukturella känsligheten i röntgen- och neutrondiffraktionsdata undersöks via reverse Monte Carlo metoden och information om de partiella parkorrelationsfunktionerna erhålls. En ny metod för strukturmodellering av beräkningsintensiva data presenteras och används för att lösa en motsägelse mellan experimentell diffraktion och EXAFS angående syre- syre parkorrelationsfunktionen. Data från röntgensmåvinkelspridning modelleras med storskaliga klassiska molekyldynamiksimuleringar, och den observerade förhöjda småvinkelspridningen vid underkylda temperaturer kopplas till existensen av en Widomlinje härrörande från en vätske- vätske kritisk punkt i det djupt underkylda området vid höga tryck. En undersökning av inherenta strukturer i simuleringarna påvisar en underliggande strukturell bimodalitet mellan molekyler i oordnade högdensitetsregioner respektive ordnade lågdensitetsregioner, vilket ger en tydligare tolkning av den experimentella småvinkelspridningen. Dynamiska anomalier i underkylt vatten som har observerats i inelastisk neutronspridning, speciellt förekomsten av lågfrekventa excitationer som liknar en bosontopp, undersöks och kopplas till den termodynamiskt definierade Widomlinjen. Slutligen presenteras densitetsfunktionalberäkningar av röntgenabsorptionsspektra för simulerade vattenstrukturer. En approximation av intramolekylära nollpunktsvibrationseffekter förbättrar relativa intensiteteri spektrumen avsevärt, men en strukturanalys visar att klassiska simuleringar av vatten underskattar andelen brutna vätebindningar.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Physics, Stockholm University, 2011. 102 p.
Liquid water, supercooled water, diffraction, structure modeling, molecular dynamics, x-ray spectroscopy, EXAFS, SAXS
National Category
Physical Sciences
Research subject
Theoretical Physics
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-56711 (URN)978-91-7447-287-5 (ISBN)
Public defence
2011-05-27, lecture room FA31, AlbaNova universitetscentrum, Roslagstullsbacken 21, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
At the time of the doctoral defense, the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 6: Submitted. Paper 7: Submitted. Paper 8: Manuscript. Paper 9: Submitted. Available from: 2011-05-05 Created: 2011-04-22 Last updated: 2011-04-26Bibliographically approved

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Wikfeldt, K. ThorLeetmaa, MikaelLjungberg, Mathias P.Lyubartsev, AlexanderPettersson, Lars G. M.Nilsson, Anders
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