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"when confined on the nanometre scale, it forms into an entirely new type of quantum water.

The background to this is that the electrons in donor and acceptor molecules in hydrogen bonds are indistinguishable, meaning they can travel from one molecule to the next. When the molecules are confined in some way, they can spread some distance, when in a solid for example.

But water molecules can be confined in other ways too. And when that happens, the electronic structure of liquid water becomes a connected network.

The departures of the momentum distribution of the protons from that of bulk water are so large, that we believe that the nano-confined water can be properly described as being in a qualitatively different quantum ground state from that of bulk water," they say.

They even suggest that there could be some kind of quantum coherence that spreads out through the electronic network. If that's the case, it should be possible to measure how this decoheres in future experiments.

Biologists have long known that flow through these channels is orders of magnitude greater than conventional fluid dynamics predicts. Perhaps this new state of quantum water is the reason why.

Reiter and co also say that this quantum water can only exist when it is surrounded by neutral molecules such as the carbon in nanotubes and not in the presence of many commonly studied materials, such as proton exchange membranes like Nafion. This is made of molecules that conduct protons in an entirely different way and so prevents the formation of quantum water.

The implication, of course, is that the proton exchange membranes used in everything from chemical production to fuel cells could be dramatically improved by using a neutral carbon-based material."


like graphene
On Mar 1, 2011, at 3:54 PM, Levit, Creon (ARC-P) wrote:

http://www.technologyreview.com/blog/arxiv/26319/


for the complete article.


Category: Science