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World's fastest water heater produces exotic state of liquid

IANS  |  London 

In an experimental set-up that can be seen as the world's fastest water heater, scientists have used a powerful to heat water from room to 100,000 degrees Celsius in less than a tenth of a - millionth of a millionth of a second.

This set-up produced an exotic state of water - driving its transition from liquid to plasma.

The researchers said they hope to learn more about the peculiar characteristics of Earth's most important liquid from this exotic state of water.

The observations, detailed in a study published in the journal (PNAS), could have practical use for probing biological and many other samples as are often used to investigate the atomic structure of tiny samples.

The team led by from used the free-electron source at the in the US to shoot extremely intense and ultra-short flashes of X-rays at a jet of water.

"Our heating is fundamentally different," explained Caleman.

"The energetic X-rays punch electrons out of the water molecules, thereby destroying the balance of electric charges. So, suddenly the atoms feel a strong repulsive force and start to move violently," Caleman added.

In less than 75 femtoseconds, that is 75 millionths of a billionth of a second or 0.000 000 000 000 075 seconds, the water goes through a phase transition from liquid to plasma, the study said.

A plasma is a state of matter where the electrons have been removed from the atoms, leading to a sort of electrically charged gas.

"But while the water transforms from liquid to plasma, it still remains at the density of liquid water, as the atoms didn't have time to move significantly yet," said from

This exotic state of matter is nothing that can be found naturally on Earth.

"It has similar characteristics as some plasmas in the sun and the Jupiter, but has a lower density. Meanwhile, it is hotter than Earth's core," Jonsson added.



(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, May 15 2018. 18:18 IST