Free protons from acids associate with 1, 2 or 3 molecules of water and the structures can be identified by unique infrared laser spectrum signatures, according to a report in Science by Yale professor of chemistry Mark A. Johnson and his collaborators at Yale, the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Georgia.
Eigen and Zundel models for proton shared by water molecules
Acids yielding free protons are common in biological and chemical systems and the measurement of pH to determine acidity of an aqueous solution is a simple, standard procedure. However, it has not been as easy to determine where the liberated protons are located and how they interact with water molecules.
The scientists tackled these questions using infra-red laser light, at much lower energies than were previously accessible, to monitor how the vibration profile changes when a proton is associated with two to eleven water molecules.
Janet Rettig Emanuel | EurekAlert!
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