How two water molecules dance together

14 Aug 2019 | Source: Ruhr Universität, Bochum

Although water is omnipresent, the interaction between individual water molecules is not yet fully understood

An international research team has gained new insights into how water molecules interact. For the first time, the researchers were able to completely observe all of the movements between the water molecules. A certain movement of individual water molecules against each other, called hindered rotations, is particularly important.

Among other things, the findings help to better determine the intermolecular energy landscape between water molecules and thus to better understand the strange properties of water – for instance, the fact that water reaches its highest density at four degrees Celsius. This is due to the special interactions between the water molecules.

The team led by Professor Martina Havenith from RUB and Professor Joel Bowman from Emory University in Atlanta, together with colleagues from Radboud University in Nijmegen and Université de Montpellier, describe the work in the journal “Angewandte Chemie International Edition” on 27 July 2019.