Inelastic neutron scattering study of hydrogen in d8 -THF D2 O ice clathrate

Kimberly T. Tait, Frans Trouw, Yusheng Zhao, Craig M. Brown, Robert T. Downs

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30 Scopus citations


In situ neutron inelastic scattering experiments on hydrogen adsorbed into a fully deutrated tetrahydrofuran-water ice clathrate show that the adsorbed hydrogen has three rotational excitations (transitions between J=0 and 1 states) at approximately 14 meV in both energy gain and loss. These transitions could be unequivocally assigned since there was residual orthohydrogen at low temperatures (slow conversion to the ground state) resulting in an observable J=1→0 transition at 5 K (kT=0.48 meV). A doublet in neutron energy loss at approximately 28.5 meV is interpreted as J=1→2 transitions. In addition to the transitions between rotational states, there are a series of peaks that arise from transitions between center-of-mass translational quantum states of the confined hydrogen molecule. A band at approximately 9 meV can be unequivocally interpreted as a transition between translational states, while broad features at 20, 25, 35, and 50-60 meV are also interpreted to as transitions between translational quantum states. A detailed comparison is made with a recent five-dimensional quantum treatment of hydrogen in the smaller dodecahedral cage in the SII ice-clathrate structure. Although there is broad agreement regarding the features such as the splitting of the J=1 degeneracy, the magnitude of the external potential is overestimated. The numerous transitions between translational states predicted by this model are in poor agreement with the experimental data. Comparisons are also made with three simple exactly solved models, namely, a particle in a box, a particle in a sphere, and a particle on the surface of a sphere. Again, there are too many predicted features by the first two models, but there is reasonable agreement with the particle on a sphere model. This is consistent with published quantum chemistry results for hydrogen in the dodecahedral 512 cage, where the center of the cage is found to be energetically unfavorable, resulting in a shell-like confinement for the hydrogen molecule wave function. These results demonstrate that translational quantum effects are very significant and a classical treatment of the hydrogen molecule dynamics is inappropriate under such conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number134505
JournalJournal of Chemical Physics
Issue number13
StatePublished - 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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