Computational Study of the One- and Two-Dimensional Infrared Spectra of a Proton-Transfer Mode in a Hydrogen-Bonded Complex Dissolved in a Polar Nanocluster



The signatures of nanosolvation on the one- and two-dimensional (1D and 2D) IR spectra of a proton-transfer mode in a hydrogen-bonded complex dissolved in polar solvent molecule nanoclusters of varying size are elucidated by using mixed quantum–classical molecular dynamics simulations. For this particular system, increasing the number of solvent molecules successively from N=7 to N=9 initiates the transition of the system from a cluster state to a bulk-like state. Both the 1D and 2D IR spectra reflect this transition through pronounced changes in their peak intensities and numbers, but the time-resolved 2D IR spectra also manifest spectral features that uniquely identify the onset of the cluster-to-bulk transition. In particular, it is observed that in the 1D IR spectra, the relative intensities of the peaks change such that the number of peaks decreases from three to two as the size of the cluster increases from N=7 to N=9. In the 2D IR spectra, off-diagonal peaks are observed in the N=7 and N=8 cases at zero waiting time, but not in the N=9 case. It is known that there are no off-diagonal peaks in the 2D IR spectrum of the bulk version of this system at zero waiting time, so the disappearance of these peaks is a unique signature of the onset of bulk-like behavior. Through an examination of the trajectories of various properties of the complex and solvent, it is possible to relate the emergence of these off-diagonal peaks to an interplay between the vibrations of the complex and the solvent polarization dynamics.