The most prominent spectroscopic observable for the hydrogen bonding between individual molecules in liquid water is the broad absorption band detected in the spectral region between 300 and 900 cm-1. The present work demonstrates how the associated large-amplitude out-of-plane OH librational motion of H2O molecules also directly reflects the microsolvation of organic compounds. This highly localized OH librational motion of the first solvating H2O molecule causes a significant change of dipole moment and gives rise to a strong characteristic band in the far-infrared spectral region, which is correlated quantitatively with the complexation energy. The out-of-plane OH librational band origins ranging from 324.5 to 658.9 cm-1 have been assigned experimentally for a series of four binary hydrogen-bonded H2O complexes embedded in solid neon involving S-, O- and N-containing compounds with increasing hydrogen bond acceptor capability. The hydrogen bond energies for altogether eight binary H2O complexes relative to the experimental value of 13.2 ± 0.12 kJ mol-1 for the prototypical (H2O)2 system [Rocher-Casterline et al., J. Chem. Phys., 2011, 134, 211101] are revealed directly by these far-infrared spectroscopic observables. The far-infrared spectral signatures are able to capture even minor differences in the hydrogen bond acceptor capability of O atoms with slightly different alkyl substituents in the order H-O-C(CH3)3 > CH3-O-CH3 > H-O-CH(CH3)2 > H-O-CH2CH3.
Mihrin, D., Andersen, J., Jakobsen, P. W., & Wugt Larsen, R. (2019). Highly localized H2O librational motion as a far-infrared spectroscopic probe for microsolvation of organic molecules. Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics, 21(4), 1717-1723. https://doi.org/10.1039/c8cp05985c