Towards complete assignment of the infrared spectrum of the protonated water cluster H+(H2O)21

Jinfeng Liu, Jinrong Yang, Xiao Cheng Zeng, Sotiris S. Xantheas, Kiyoshi Yagi, Xiao He

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


The spectroscopic features of protonated water species in dilute acid solutions have been long sought after for understanding the microscopic behavior of the proton in water with gas-phase water clusters H+(H2O)n extensively studied as bottom-up model systems. We present a new protocol for the calculation of the infrared (IR) spectra of complex systems, which combines the fragment-based Coupled Cluster method and anharmonic vibrational quasi-degenerate perturbation theory, and demonstrate its accuracy towards the complete and accurate assignment of the IR spectrum of the H+(H2O)21 cluster. The site-specific IR spectral signatures reveal two distinct structures for the internal and surface four-coordinated water molecules, which are ice-like and liquid-like, respectively. The effect of inter-molecular interaction between water molecules is addressed, and the vibrational resonance is found between the O-H stretching fundamental and the bending overtone of the nearest neighboring water molecule. The revelation of the spectral signature of the excess proton offers deeper insight into the nature of charge accommodation in the extended hydrogen-bonding network underpinning this aqueous cluster.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number6141
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • General
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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