Publication Date

2016

Journal

Science

Volume

351

Issue

6279

First Page

1310

Last Page

1313

Abstract

The nature of the intermolecular forces between water molecules is the same in small hydrogen-bonded clusters as in the bulk. The rotational spectra of the clusters therefore give insight into the intermolecular forces present in liquid water and ice. The water hexamer is the smallest water cluster to support low-energy structures with branched three-dimensional

hydrogen-bond networks, rather than cyclic two-dimensional topologies. Here we report measurements of splitting patterns in rotational transitions of the water hexamer prism, and we used quantum simulations to show that they result from geared and antigeared rotations of a pair of water molecules. Unlike previously reported tunneling motions in water clusters, the geared motion involves the concerted breaking of two hydrogen bonds. Similar types of motion may be feasible in interfacial and confined water.

DOI

10.1126/science.aae0012

Available for download on Tuesday, March 21, 2017

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