Absolute cross-sections scaled for each oxygen atom. The absolute cross-sections of each oxygen atom for a larger frequency band as derived from XAS measurements on fluidized proton complexes and on water in acetonitrile. attributed to him: Angewandte Chemie International Edition (2022). DOI: 10.1002 / ani.202211066
Professor Ehud Pines is considered an iconoclast. What else would you call a scientist who spent 17 years persistently seeking a solution to a 200-plus-year-old chemical problem who felt he had not received a satisfactory answer using methods that no other scientist believed could lead to the truth? Now, he has been acquitted as Anguandt Kimi He published a cover article detailing how his experiment was replicated by another research group while he was x-rayed to reveal the solution that Professor Pines has advocated throughout.
The question is: How does a proton move in water? In 1806, Theodor Grottus proposed his theory, which became known as the Grothus mechanism. Over the years, many others have attempted an up-to-date solution realizing that Grotus, strictly speaking, was incorrect, but remained the standard answer in the text book. Until now.
Professor Ehud Pines, based on his empirical studies at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, suggested a Ph.D. Student Eve Kozari, and theoretical studies Written by Professor Benjamin Fingerhout On the structure of proton water groups by Professor Baynes, the proton moves through water in trains of three water molecules.
Proton trains “build tracks” under them to move them and then dismantle and rebuild tracks in front of them to keep going. It’s a loop of tracks that disappear and reappear that goes on endlessly. Similar ideas have been put forward by a number of scientists in the past, however, according to Professor Baynes, they are not assigned to the correct molecular structure of the hydrated proton, which through its unique structural properties enhances the Grothus mechanism.
Prof. Baynes says: “Discussions about the Grottos mechanism and the nature of the dissolution of the proton in water have intensified, because this is one of the most fundamental challenges in chemistry. Understanding this mechanism is pure science, pushing our frontiers of knowledge and changing one of our fundamental concepts of one of the most important mechanisms of mass transport and charge in nature .”
While additional theoretical studies in recent years have confirmed Professor Pines’ findings regarding a hydrated proton taken up by a chain of three water molecules, most of the global scientific community working in the field has remained reluctant to accept Professor Pines’ emerging model of proton dissolution and motion in water. Therefore, Professor Baines reached out to old collaborators at the Max Born Institute in Germany.
They put together an international research team organized by Dr. Eric Niebring and they repeated the experiment, this time with an X-ray of the chemical system. The X-ray experiment – which required specially designed equipment costing millions of dollars in European Research Council funding – confirmed Professor Pines’ findings.
The X-ray Absorption Experiment (XAS) measured the effect of a proton’s charge on the inner electron structure of single oxygen atoms in water. As predicted by Professor Baynes, it was found that three water molecules are most affected by the presence of the proton, each with a different extent, and together with the proton, they form chains of water molecules or “droppers”.
“Everyone has thought about this problem for over 200 years, so it was challenging enough for me to decide to take it up,” says Prof. Pines. “Seventeen years later, I am grateful that I probably found and offered the solution.”
The next edition of university chemistry textbooks may replace the description of Grottos’ mechanism with a “pine-mechanism,” an idea that worries Professor Baines, but is just a masterpiece compared to revealing an understanding of this fundamental mechanism of one of the most common. and basic processes in nature.
Maria Ekimova et al, From local covalent bonding to extended electric field interactions in proton hydration, Angewandte Chemie International Edition (2022). DOI: 10.1002 / ani.202211066
Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
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