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Probing the hydrogen-bond network of water via time-resolved soft x-ray spectroscopy

Abstract

We report time-resolved studies of hydrogen bonding in liquid H2O, in response to direct excitation of the O-H stretch mode at 3 mu m, probed via soft x-ray absorption spectroscopy at the oxygen K-edge. This approach employs a newly developed nanofluidic cell for transient soft x-ray spectroscopy in liquid phase. Distinct changes in the near-edge spectral region (XANES) are observed, and are indicative of a transient temperature rise of 10K following transient laser excitation and rapid thermalization of vibrational energy. The rapid heating occurs at constant volume and the associated increase in internal pressure, estimated to be 8MPa, is manifest by distinct spectral changes that differ from those induced by temperature alone. We conclude that the near-edge spectral shape of the oxygen K-edge is a sensitive probe of internal pressure, opening new possibilities for testing the validity of water models and providing new insight into the nature of hydrogen bonding in water.

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