Simulations of the infrared, Raman, and 2D-IR photon echo spectra of water in nanoscale silica pores

PC Burris and D Laage and WH Thompson, JOURNAL OF CHEMICAL PHYSICS, 144, 194709 (2016).

DOI: 10.1063/1.4949766

Vibrational spectroscopy is frequently used to characterize nanoconfined liquids and probe the effect of the confining framework on the liquid structure and dynamics relative to the corresponding bulk fluid. However, it is still unclear what molecular-level information can be obtained from such measurements. In this paper, we address this question by using molecular dynamics (MD) simulations to reproduce the linear infrared (IR), Raman, and two-dimensional IR (2D-IR) photon echo spectra for water confined within hydrophilic (hydroxyl-terminated) silica mesopores. To simplify the spectra the OH stretching region of isotopically dilute HOD in D2O is considered. An empirical mapping approach is used to obtain the OH vibrational frequencies, transition dipoles, and transition polarizabilities from the MD simulations. The simulated linear IR and Raman spectra are in good general agreement with measured spectra of water in mesoporous silica reported in the literature. The key effect of confinement on the water spectrum is a vibrational blueshift for OH groups that are closest to the pore interface. The blueshift can be attributed to the weaker hydrogen bonds (H-bonds) formed between the OH groups and silica oxygen acceptors. Non- Condon effects greatly diminish the contribution of these OH moieties to the linear IR spectrum, but these weaker H-bonds are readily apparent in the Raman spectrum. The 2D-IR spectra have not yet been measured and thus the present results represent a prediction. The simulated spectra indicates that it should be possible to probe the slower spectral diffusion of confined water compared to the bulk liquid by analysis of the 2D-IR spectra. Published by AIP Publishing.

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