Real and imaginary parts of the vibrational relaxation of acetonitrile in its electrolyte solutions: new results for the dynamics of solvent molecules

Dmitry Nerukh, Trevor R. Griffiths

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    Isotropic scattering Raman spectra of liquid acetonitrile (AN) solutions of LiBF4 and NaI at various temperatures and concentrations have been investigated. For the first time imaginary as well as real parts of the solvent vibrational correlation functions have been extracted from the spectra. Such imaginary parts are currently an important component of modern theories of vibrational relaxation in liquids. This investigation thus provides the first experimental data on imaginary parts of a correlation function in AN solutions. Using the fitting algorithm we recently developed, statistically confident models for the Raman spectra were deduced. The parameters of the band shapes, with an additional correction, of the ν2 AN vibration (CN stretching), together with their confidence intervals are also reported for the first time. It is shown that three distinct species, with lifetimes greater than 1013 s, of the AN molecules can be detected in solutions containing Li+ and Na+. These species are attributed to AN molecules directly solvating cations; the single oriented and polarised molecules interleaving the cation and anion of a Solvent Shared Ion Pair (SShIP); and molecules solvating anions. These last are considered to be equivalent to the next layer of solvent molecules, because the CN end of the molecule is distant from the anion and thus less affected by the ionic charge compared with the anion situation. Calculations showed that at the concentrations employed, 1 and 0.3 M, there were essentially no other solvent molecules remaining that could be considered as bulk solvent. Calculations also showed that the internuclear distance in these solutions supported the proposal that the ionic entity dominating in solution was the SShIP, and other evidence was adduced that confirmed the absence of Contact Ion Pairs at these concentrations. The parameters of the shape of the vibrational correlation functions of all three species are reported. The parameters of intramolecular anharmonic coupling between the potential surfaces in AN and the dynamics of the intermolecular environment fluctuations and intermolecular energy transfer are presented. These results will assist investigations made at higher and lower concentrations, when additional species and interactions with AN molecules will be present.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)83-97
    Number of pages15
    JournalJournal of Molecular Liquids
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 30 Jan 2004


    • acetonitrile
    • solvation
    • vibrational dynamics
    • Spectra fitting software


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