Formation of local molecular structures in liquid water is believed to have marked effect on the bulk properties of water, however, resolving such structural motives in an experiment is challenging. This challenge might be handled if the relevant low-frequency structural motion of the liquid is directly driven with an intense electromagnetic pulse. Here, we resonantly excite diffusive reorientational motions in water with intense terahertz pulses and measure the resulting transient optical birefringence. The observed response is shown to arise from a particular configuration, namely the restricted trans-lational motion of water molecules whose motions are predominantly orthogonal to the dipole moment of the excited neighboring water molecules. Accordingly, we estimate the strength of the anharmonic coupling between the rotational and the restricted translational degrees of freedom of waterl.
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