High-resolution soft X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy of liquid water

Phys Chem Chem Phys. 2011 Jan 14;13(2):413-7. doi: 10.1039/c0cp01636e. Epub 2010 Nov 10.


High-resolution soft X-ray photoelectron spectra of liquid water (H(2)O and D(2)O) were measured using a liquid beam photoelectron spectrometer. The 1a(1) (O1s) band and the lowest valence 1b(1) band had single peaks, which is not consistent with the split 1b(1)→ 1a(1) of the X-ray emission band of liquid water if the splitting is assumed to originate from level shifts in two different hydrogen bonding structures. The second valence 3a(1) band of liquid water exhibited a flat top implying that two bands exist underneath a broad feature, which is similar to the case of the 3a(1) band of amorphous ice. The energy splitting between the two 3a(1) bands is estimated to be 1.38 eV (H(2)O) and 1.39 eV (D(2)O). Ab initio calculations suggest that the large splitting of the 3a(1) band is characteristic of water molecules that function as both proton donor and acceptor. The overall result is consistent with the conventional model of a tetrahedral hydrogen-bonding network in liquid water.

MeSH terms

  • Deuterium Oxide / chemistry
  • Hydrogen Bonding
  • Photoelectron Spectroscopy
  • Water / chemistry*


  • Water
  • Deuterium Oxide