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Journal of Biological Physics

, Volume 38, Issue 1, pp 85–95 | Cite as

Terahertz vibrational properties of water nanoclusters relevant to biology

  • Keith Johnson
Original Paper

Abstract

Water nanoclusters are shown from first-principles calculations to possess unique terahertz-frequency vibrational modes in the 1–6 THz range, corresponding to O–O–O “bending,” “squashing,” and “twisting” “surface” distortions of the clusters. The cluster molecular-orbital LUMOs are huge Rydberg-like “S,” “P,” “D,” and “F” orbitals that accept an extra electron via optical excitation, ionization, or electron donation from interacting biomolecules. Dynamic Jahn–Teller coupling of these “hydrated-electron” orbitals to the THz vibrations promotes such water clusters as vibronically active “structured water” essential to biomolecular function such as protein folding. In biological microtubules, confined water-cluster THz vibrations may induce their “quantum coherence” communicated by Jahn–Teller phonons via coupling of the THz electromagnetic field to the water clusters’ large electric dipole moments.

Keywords

Water clusters Terahertz Vibrational Vibronic 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Massachusetts Institute of TechnologyCambridgeUSA
  2. 2.HydroElectron Ventures Inc.WestmountCanada

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