Dynamic signature of molecular association in methanol

by Bertrand, C. E.; Self, J. L.; Copley, J. R. D.; Faraone, A.

JOURNAL OF CHEMICAL PHYSICS, 145(1), DOI: 10.1063/1.4954964

Quasielastic neutron scattering measurements and molecular dynamics simulations were combined to investigate the collective dynamics of deuterated methanol, CD3OD. In the experimentally determined dynamic structure factor, a slow, non-Fickian mode was observed in addition to the standard density-fluctuation heat mode. The simulation results indicate that the slow dynamical process originates from the hydrogen bonding of methanol molecules. The qualitative behavior of this mode is similar to the previously observed alpha-relaxation in supercooled water [M. C. Bellissent-Funel et al., Phys. Rev. Lett. 85, 3644 (2000)] which also originates from the formation and dissolution of hydrogen-bonded associates (supramolecular clusters). In methanol, however, this mode is distinguishable well above the freezing transition. This finding indicates that an emergent slow mode is not unique to supercooled water, but may instead be a general feature of hydrogen-bonding liquids and associating molecular liquids.

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