• Ahsan, M.S.; Kochetov, V.; Hein, D.; Bokarev, S.I.; Wilkinson, I.: Probing the molecular structure of aqueous triiodide via X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy and correlated electron phenomena. Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics 24 (2022), p. 15540-15555

Open Access Version

Liquid-microjet-based X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy was applied to aqueous triiodide solutions, I3-(aq.), to investigate the anion’s valence- and core-level electronic structure, ionization dynamics, associated electron-correlation effects, and nuclear geometric structure. The roles of multi-active electron (shake-up) ionization processes – with noted sensitivity to the solute geometric structure – were investigated through I3- (aq.) solution valence, I 4d, and I 3d core-level measurements. The experimental spectra were interpreted with the aid of simulated photoelectron spectra, built upon multireference ab initio electronic structure calculations associated with different I3- (aq.) molecular geometries. A comparison of the single-to-multi-active-electron ionization signal ratios extracted from the experimental and theoretical core-level photoemission spectra suggests that the ground state of the solute adopts a near-linear average geometry in aqueous solutions. This contrasts with the interpretation of time-resolved X-ray solution scattering studies, but is found to be fully consistent with the rest of the solution-phase I3-(aq.) literature. Comparing the results of low- and high-photon-energy photoemission measurements, we further suggest that the aqueous anion adopts a more asymmetric geometry at the aqueous–solution–gas interface than in the aqueous bulk.