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Powerful Lasers Produce Wild New Child of Ice Thought to Exist Inside Uranus



Scientists use high-energy lasers to create a new phase of ice leaching on Earth before-but which might exist in Neptune and Uranus.

Water's structure allows it to freeze into many different crystalline forms (including ice -IX, which does not share the same properties as the Ice-IX from Kurt Vonnegut's Cat's Cradle ). Perhaps one of the strangest forms is superionic ice, where hydrogen atoms are like a liquid through a solid oxygen-only crystal. Superionic ice could be important for understanding how ice giant planets evolved.

Researchers first predicted the existence of superionic ice in 1988, and first observed evidence of its existence in 2018. New methods

The Scientists Squeezed Water Molecules in a Specialized, 1

5-nanosecond-long sequence using the University of Rochester's Laboratory for Laser Energetics' Omega laser. This produces shock waves in between the diamonds, compressing the water molecules to and around the same as those at the center of the earth and at about half of the Earth's core. (You might think that ice is supposed to be cold, but it is sensitive to both temperature and pressure.) Immediately after the laser pulse, they shoot the sample with x-rays, which allows them to measure the structure of what they've produced.

"Given the extreme conditions at which this state of matter is predicted to become stable, compressing water to such pressures and temperatures and simultaneously." Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

Image of lasers hitting a sample , Image: Millot, Coppari, Hamel, Krauss (LLNL)

And their efforts were successful, Coppari said. There have been other pieces of evidence pointing towards the existence of this superionic ice. But x-ray diffraction measurements are a crucial confirmation. XVIII.

"This study brings the missing piece to the puzzle regarding the existence of superionic water ice, 30 years after the original prediction." 19659002] Superionic ice is more than just a curiosity. Uranus and Neptune, "Jonathan Fortney, Director of the Other Worlds Laboratory at the University of California, Santa Cruz, told Gizmodo. Scientists may need to re-think their models of how to do so.

The researchers still hope to perform measurements at higher temperatures and pressures

Our everyday experiences are limited to the temperatures that are common here on Earth.

Featured image: Millot, Coppari, Hamel, Krauss (LLNL)


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