Electron binding energies of aqueous alkali and halide ions: EUV photoelectron spectroscopy of liquid
solutions and combined ab initio and molecular dynamics calculations.
Winter, B.; Weber, R.; Hertel, I. V. etc.,
Journal of the American Chemical Society, 127  7203 - 7214 (2005)
Photoelectron spectroscopy combined with the liquid microjet technique enables the direct probing of the electronic structure of aqueous solutions. We report measured and calculated lowest vertical electron binding energies of aqueous alkali cations and halide anions. In some cases, ejection from deeper electronic levels of the solute could be observed. Electron binding energies of a given aqueous ion are found to be independent of the counterion and the salt concentration. The experimental results are complemented by ab initio calculations, at the MP2 and CCSD(T) level, of the ionization energies of these prototype ions in the aqueous phase. The solvent effect was accounted for in the electronic structure calculations in two ways. An explicit inclusion of discrete water molecules using a set of snapshots from an equilibrium classical molecular dynamics simulations and a fractional charge representation of solvent molecules give good results for halide ions. The electron binding energies of alkali cations computed with this approach tend to be overestimated. On the other hand, the polarizable continuum model, which strictly provides adiabatic binding energies, performs well for the alkali cations but fails for the halides. Photon energies in the experiment were in the EUV region (typically 100 eV) for which the technique is probing the top layers of the liquid sample. Hence, the reported energies of aqueous ions are closely connected with both structures and chemical reactivity at the liquid interface, for example, in atmospheric aerosol particles, as well as fundamental bulk solvation properties.