Vibrational resonant inelastic X-ray scattering in liquid acetic acid: a ruler for molecular chain lengths

Savchenko, Viktoriia; Brumboiu, Iulia Emilia; Kimberg, Victor; et all. SCIENTIFIC REPORTS DOI: 10.1038/s41598-021-83248-3

Quenching of vibrational excitations in resonant inelastic X-ray scattering (RIXS) spectra of liquid acetic acid is observed. At the oxygen core resonance associated with localized excitations at the O-H bond, the spectra lack the typical progression of vibrational excitations observed in RIXS spectra of comparable systems. We interpret this phenomenon as due to strong rehybridization of the unoccupied molecular orbitals as a result of hydrogen bonding, which however cannot be observed in x-ray absorption but only by means of RIXS. This allows us to address the molecular structure of the liquid, and to determine a lower limit for the average molecular chain length.