Water-cluster anions can serve as a bridge to understand the transition from gaseous species to the bulk hydrated electron. However, debate continues regarding how the excess electron is bound in (H2O)n -, as an interior, bulklike, or surface electronic state. To address the uncertainty, the properties of (H2O)n- clusters with 20 to 200 water molecules have been evaluated by mixed quantum-classical simulations. The theory reproduces every observed energetic, spectral, and structural trend with cluster size that is seen in experimental photoelectron and optical absorption spectra. More important, surface states and interior states each manifest a characteristic signature in the simulation data. The results strongly support assignment of surface-bound electronic states to the water-cluster anions in published experimental studies thus far.
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