Research ArticleChemistry

Genuine binding energy of the hydrated electron

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Science Advances  28 Apr 2017:
Vol. 3, no. 4, e1603224
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1603224

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The unknown influence of inelastic and elastic scattering of slow electrons in water has made it difficult to clarify the role of the solvated electron in radiation chemistry and biology. We combine accurate scattering simulations with experimental photoemission spectroscopy of the hydrated electron in a liquid water microjet, with the aim of resolving ambiguities regarding the influence of electron scattering on binding energy spectra, photoelectron angular distributions, and probing depths. The scattering parameters used in the simulations are retrieved from independent photoemission experiments of water droplets. For the ground-state hydrated electron, we report genuine values devoid of scattering contributions for the vertical binding energy and the anisotropy parameter of 3.7 ± 0.1 eV and 0.6 ± 0.2, respectively. Our probing depths suggest that even vacuum ultraviolet probing is not particularly surface-selective. Our work demonstrates the importance of quantitative scattering simulations for a detailed analysis of key properties of the hydrated electron.

  • solvated electron
  • electron scattering
  • liquid water
  • photoelectron spectroscopy
  • radiation chemistry

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