Journal article Open Access

Quantum Tunneling of Water in Beryl: A New State of the Water Molecule

Kolesnikov, Alexander I.; Reiter, George F.; Choudhury, Narayani; Prisk, Timothy R.; Mamontov, Eugene; Podlesnyak, Andrey; Ehlers, George; Seel, Andrew G.; Wesolowski, David J.; Anovitz, Lawrence M.

Using neutron scattering and ab initio simulations, we document the discovery of a new "quantum tunneling state" of the water molecule confined in 5 Å channels in the mineral beryl, characterized by extended proton and electron delocalization. We observed a number of peaks in the inelastic neutron scattering spectra that were uniquely assigned to water quantum tunneling. In addition, the water proton momentum distribution was measured with deep inelastic neutron scattering, which directly revealed coherent delocalization of the protons in the ground state.
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