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Earth Space Science

Scientists Create a New Form of Matter: Superionic Water Ice (sciencemag.org) 62

According to The New York Times, scientists created a new form of water that simultaneously acts like a solid and liquid. "The substance, which consists of a fluid of hydrogen ions running through a lattice of oxygen, was formed by compressing water between two diamonds and then zapping it with a laser," reports Science Magazine. "That caused pressures to spike to more than a million times those of Earth's atmosphere and temperatures to rise to thousands of degrees, conditions scientists had predicted may lead to the formation of superionic ice. This kind of water doesn't exist naturally on Earth, the scientists report in Nature Physics, but it may be present in the mantles of icy planets like Neptune and Uranus."
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Scientists Create a New Form of Matter: Superionic Water Ice

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  • by Richard_at_work ( 517087 ) <{richardprice} {at} {gmail.com}> on Wednesday February 07, 2018 @03:04AM (#56081781)

    To Ice 9, and then we are all fucked.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I was thinking that they should collect all the water they compressed, pour it out into a large swimming pool, and fund their future research by selling bottles of pool water as new and improved superionic homeopathy. Slap a sticker on there saying "Now with 100% More Quantum" and they'll never have to write another NSF grant again.

      • by Hal_Porter ( 817932 ) on Wednesday February 07, 2018 @09:17AM (#56082799)

        Or they could have a very full cup of Ice 9 suspended above the ocean via a ramshackle contraption maintained by a team of tweakers with shaky hands and stained lab coats and point out what a catastrophe it would be if any escaped and raise funds to improve their containment.

        The Indiegogo video would have a cool animation of the Ice 9 apocalypse happening should containment fail. An investigative reporter would grill the scientists, all of whom would seem to be completely loopy. The scientists would point out the great but ill defined promise of the research 'free energy! a cure for cancer!'. When shown the animation of the catastrophe the scientists would find it hard to hide their glee at the POWER of heir work, some going full on Davros. The reporter would end with 'You spent some much time thinking how you could do it you didn't think to ask if you should'.

        Ice 9 - Next on SyFy!

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Probably doesn't taste as good as Italian Water Ice

  • 4th Phase of Water (Score:3, Informative)

    by js290 ( 697670 ) on Wednesday February 07, 2018 @03:25AM (#56081831)
    The Fourth Phase of Water: Dr. Gerald Pollack at TEDxGuelphU https://youtu.be/i-T7tCMUDXU [youtu.be]
    • by Errol backfiring ( 1280012 ) on Wednesday February 07, 2018 @08:15AM (#56082603) Journal
      Every German knows that the fourth phase of water is Dutch tomatoes.
    • It would be the fifth phase after ice, liquid, vapour and plasma. Unless you want to argue it is not water plasma but a mix of oxygen and hydrogen plasma.

      • From wiki's plasma [wikipedia.org] page:

        The word plasma comes from the Ancient Greek [..unprintable..], meaning "moldable substance" or "jelly", whose usage describes the behaviour of the ionised atomic nuclei and the electrons within the surrounding region of the plasma.

        You can't have water plasma. Once you have ionised nuclei, you no longer have water.

        • Yeah, I forgot that hydrogen has only one electron and oxygen only two free to bind too.
          Do if you strip a water molecule a single electron it breaks apart.

          However I do not agree that plasma is consisting of ionized nuclei ... an ionized molecule also forms a plasma. However, I agree again, plasma physics would find that probably super boring.

      • In this case, isn’t it simply a liquid crystal?

  • by CptLoRes ( 4510239 ) on Wednesday February 07, 2018 @03:47AM (#56081881)
    Let's compress water between some diamonds to extreme pressure and see what happens.. Nothing, now what? Fire the laser at it!
    • by fahrbot-bot ( 874524 ) on Wednesday February 07, 2018 @04:33AM (#56082039)

      Let's compress water between some diamonds to extreme pressure and see what happens.. Nothing, now what? Fire the laser at it!

      Sharks in lab coats. We live in interesting times.

    • by sg_oneill ( 159032 ) on Wednesday February 07, 2018 @06:11AM (#56082319)

      Revised definition of science;-

      "the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behaviour of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment and........... ah fuck it, fire some lasers at it"

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        (Shamelessly stolen from some message board)

        Spheres of Science

        Chemistry - A natural science that can be broken down into two major categories: "blowing stuff up" and "making drugs"

        Physicist - An atom's way of knowing about atoms.

        Research - What you are doing when you don't know what you are doing.

        Engineer - A person who solves problems that you didn't know you had, using methods you do not understand.

        Programmer - An organism that most efficiently converts caffeine and pizza into software.

    • Let's compress water between some diamonds to extreme pressure and see what happens.. Nothing, now what? Fire the laser at it!

      It was a theoretical state, which was expected based on quantum theory calculations, which is even more significant then the experiment itself, i.e. the predictions of the existing theories were proven correct in such exotic environments. Scientists new what conditions are needed to test the theory and the novel way was to design the experiment so that they achieved this new form of water (!) and were able to collect some data (it all lasted about 20ns after which both diamonds and the sample were vaporized

  • by KingAlanI ( 1270538 ) on Wednesday February 07, 2018 @03:49AM (#56081891) Homepage Journal

    It seems like this could be useful for studying Uranus and Neptune as well for potential innovations in materials science.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      What would be really neat is if they could get enough data out of it to do a uranus/neptune life sim and see what emerges. We've already seen life organize from pools of nucleic acid in a lab environment in a few 100k generations (or maybe I'm off by one order of magnitude), but anyway, modern computer clusters can handle 10e20 generations in short work these days, so long as your input conditions are precise enough.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      this could be useful for studying Uranus

      Keep your superionic water ice away from my anus.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    "A new form of matter" happens so often in sci news nowadays that soon there will be a form of matter for every gender.

  • Science! (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 07, 2018 @05:47AM (#56082235)

    Hundreds of thousands of PSI, squashing things between diamonds, and then exploding all of it with lasers.
    There is nothing in that summary that isn't utterly badass.

  • misread title (Score:5, Informative)

    by advocate_one ( 662832 ) on Wednesday February 07, 2018 @05:54AM (#56082251)
    I took it to be 'supersonic' water ice...

    anyway, here's a link to the real article which OP neglected to use

    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/0... [nytimes.com]

  • Wooder Ice (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Bohnanza ( 523456 ) on Wednesday February 07, 2018 @08:41AM (#56082655)
    Not as good as Rita's
  • ... beyond just sounding effing cool?

    Or is this one of those really neat sciency things that people figure may someday learn some practical application for but for the moment and the foreseeable future, nobody has any idea what we could actually do with this that will be actually useful?

    • by crow ( 16139 ) on Wednesday February 07, 2018 @02:27PM (#56084813) Homepage Journal

      This allows scientists to study new forms of matter. This means better calibrating the models that predicted this, and a better understanding of exactly what is going on. Whether this particular form of matter is ever useful or not, the improved understanding may lead to forms of matter that are quite useful.

    • by slew ( 2918 )

      ... beyond just sounding effing cool?

      Or is this one of those really neat sciency things that people figure may someday learn some practical application for but for the moment and the foreseeable future, nobody has any idea what we could actually do with this that will be actually useful?

      Proton conductors (one of the properties of this super-ionic ice) appear to be used by sharks and rays [wikipedia.org] for remote sensing. Specifically, the proton conductor (keratan sulfate) is present in a jelly-like membrane and appears to enable sensing of electric and magnetic fields in water w/o being electrically conductive.

      A more industrial proton conductor called Nafion has been a used for proton-exchange Fuel Cells [wikipedia.org]. Currently proton-exchange fuels cells are limited to lower temperatures because of the limitatio

  • Guess I need new glasses.

  • ...make the ice superionic please and do it supersonically, I'm thirsty.

  • That explains it, I knew Uranus was a cold as ice.

  • "was formed by compressing water between two diamonds "

    So are fluids compressible or is this just a bad bit of paraphrasing?

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