Qualitative assessment of ultra-fast non-Grotthuss proton dynamics in S1 excited state of liquid H2O from ab initio time-dependent density functional theory
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We study qualitatively ultra-fast proton transfer (PT) in the first singlet (S1) state of liquid water (absorption onset) through excited-state dynamics by means of time-dependent density functional theory and ab initio Born-Oppenheimer molecular dynamics. We find that after the initial excitation, a PT occurs in S1 in form of a rapid jump to a neighboring water molecule, on which the proton either may rest for a relatively long period of time (as a consequence of possible defect in the hydrogen bond network) followed by back and forth hops to its neighboring water molecule or from which it further moves to the next water molecule accompanied by back and forth movements. In this way, the proton may become delocalized over a long water wire branch, followed again by back and forth jumps or short localization on a water molecule for some femtoseconds. As a result, the mechanism of PT in S1 is in most cases highly non-Grotthuss-like, delayed and discrete. Furthermore, upon PT an excess charge is ejected to the solvent trap, the so-called solvated electron. The spatial extent of the ejected solvated electron is mainly localized within one solvent shell with overlappings on the nearest neighbor water molecules and delocalizing (diffuse) tails extending beyond the first solvent sphere. During the entire ultra-short excited-state dynamics the remaining OH radical from the initially excited water molecule exhibits an extremely low mobility and is non-reactive.
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