22 Nov 2021

Scientists Discover “Supersonic Ice” a New Phase of Water

Scientists Discover “Supersonic Ice” a New Phase of Water

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Scientists have discovered a new matter, a distinct form of water called the supersonic ice. The matter is typically created at the core of planets such as Uranus or Neptune, and is another element being studied along with liquid, gas and solid.

A team of scientists led by Vitali Prakapenka at the University of Chicago published a study detailing the extreme conditions needed to prevail to form the ice. During the experiment, the research team trapped water between two diamonds to create pressure which is normally found at the core of planets. With the help of an Advanced Photon Source, a laser beam was shot through the diamonds to create heat. Then, the results were analyzed with an x-ray machine to find black colored ice.

Prakapenka said, “Imagine a cube, a lattice with oxygen atoms at the corners connected by hydrogen when it transforms into this new supersonic phase, the lattice expands, allowing the hydrogen atoms to migrate around while the oxygen atoms remain steady in their positions. It’s kind of like a solid oxygen lattice sitting in an ocean of floating hydrogen atoms.” Scientists think supersonic ice may play an important role finding planets which are capable of supporting life.