Dynamics of electrons in ammonia cages: The discovery system of solvation

I. Ren Lee, Wonchul Lee, Ahmed H. Zewail*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


Two centuries ago solvated electrons were discovered in liquid ammonia and a century later the concept of the solvent cage was introduced. Here, we report a real time study of the dynamics of size-selected clusters, n=20 to 60, of electrons in ammonia, and, for comparison, that of electrons in water cages. Unlike the water case, the observed dynamics for ammonia indicates the formation, through a 100 fs temperature jump, of a solvent collective motion in a 500 fs relaxation process. The agreement of the experimental results - obtained for a well-defined n, gated electron kinetic energy, and time delay - with molecular dynamics theory suggests the critical and different role of the kinetic energy and the librational motions involved in solvation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)83-88
Number of pages6
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2008 Jan 11
Externally publishedYes


  • Ammonia
  • Clusters
  • Femtochemistry
  • Photoelectron spectroscopy
  • Solvated electrons

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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