Relaxation dominated by inertia: Solvation dynamics of a small ion in a dipolar solvent

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It is shown from an analytical theory that the solvation dynamics of a small ion can be controlled largely by the inertial response of the dipolar solvent when the liquid is in the underdamped limit. It is also shown that this inertial response arises primarily from the long wavelength (with wavevector k≃0) processes which have a collective excitation-like behaviour. The long time decay is dominated by the processes occurring at molecular lengthscales. The theoretical results are in good agreement with recent computer simulation results.