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  • 1.
    Wikfeldt, Kjartan Thor
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physics.
    Structure, Dynamics and Thermodynamics of Liquid Water: Insights from Molecular Simulations2011Doctoral 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.

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