X-ray spectroscopy

Transferring electrons to water

  • A Correction to this article was published on 22 October 2010
  • A Retraction to this article was published on 25 July 2017
  • This article was retracted on 25 July 2017

Electron transfer between ions and water is of fundamental interest for many processes in biology and chemistry. Now, using core-electron excitation of hydrated iron cations, ultrafast electron transfer to the coordinating water molecules has been detected.

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Figure 1: A schematic of the X-ray absorption process in an iron cation where a core electron excitation takes place followed by decay of the hole left behind with the emission of a fluorescence photon.

Change history

  • 23 September 2010

    In the PDF and print versions of this News & Views originally published, the beam colours were incorrect in Fig. 1. This has now been corrected online.

  • 29 June 2017

    In view of the fact that the Article 'Charge transfer to solvent identified using dark channel fluorescence-yield L-edge spectroscopy' by Emad F. Aziz et al. (Nature Chemistry 2, 853–857; 2010) has been retracted by the authors, I retract this News & Views highlighting the study because it relied on the validity of the data presented therein.


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Nilsson, A. Transferring electrons to water. Nature Chem 2, 800–802 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1038/nchem.807

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