The uniqueness of water originates from its three-dimensional hydrogen-bond network, but this hydrogen-bond network is suddenly truncated at the interface and non-hydrogen-bonded OH (free OH) appears. Although this free OH is the most characteristic feature of interfacial water, the molecular-level understanding of its dynamic property is still limited due to the technical difficulty. We study ultrafast vibrational relaxation dynamics of the free OH at the air/water interface using time-resolved heterodyne-detected vibrational sum frequency generation (TR-HD-VSFG) spectroscopy. With the use of singular value decomposition (SVD) analysis, the vibrational relaxation (T1) times of the free OH at the neat H2O and isotopically-diluted water interfaces are determined to be 0.87 ± 0.06 ps (neat H2O), 0.84 ± 0.09 ps (H2O/HOD/D2O = 1/2/1), and 0.88 ± 0.16 ps (H2O/HOD/D2O = 1/8/16). The absence of the isotope effect on the T1 time indicates that the main mechanism of the vibrational relaxation of the free OH is reorientation of the topmost water molecules. The determined sub-picosecond T1 time also suggests that the free OH reorients diffusively without the switching of the hydrogen-bond partner by the topmost water molecule.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Physics and Astronomy(all)