UNC-CH scientists create world's smallest pieces of ice

CHAPEL HILL -- Using liquid helium, chemists at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have succeeded in artificially creating the world's smallest pieces of ice.

Don't look for them anytime soon clinking in your tea glass, however. The pieces they made consist only of six molecules of water in flat hexagonal rings, just as ice exists in nature.

The unusual achievement could go a long way toward boosting knowledge of water, that unique and fascinating substance without which no life could exist, the scientists say. A report on the research appears in the Jan. 13 issue of Science. Chemistry graduate student Klaas Nauta and Dr. Roger E. Miller, professor of chemistry, carried out the work and wrote the report.

"Despite the fact that water is so important to us, we still don't have a really good molecular level understanding of it," Miller said. "We can do pretty well with some other systems, but water does interesting things that make it unique and also make it somewhat difficult to understand."

For example, a property of water that is bizarre -- yet taken for granted -- is that unlike almost all other substances, it becomes less dense as it freezes, Miller said. As a result, ice floats instead of sinking. The more normal behavior is for solids to sink in their own liquid phases.

"We know that when it freezes, water forms a unique hexagonal ring structure, which accounts for its low density and the fact that it floats in water," Miller said. "Understanding the hydrogen bonding forces that align the water molecules in this way is our goal."

Doing this in bulk ice and water is complicated by the fact that there are so many molecules to keep track of, he said.

"After all, a single drop of water contains about 100,000,000,000,000,000,000 water molecules," the chemist said. "When we're trying to understand water at a detailed level, having so many molecules is a real problem."

The approach he and other scientists have taken over

Contact: David Williamson
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Page: 1 2 3

Related biology news :

1. UNC-CH study indicates special vaccines could prevent insulin-dependent diabetes
2. Feds give $16 million to UNC-CH scientists studying waste site problems
3. UNC-CH study offers new evidence that garlic protects against cancers
4. UNC-CH researchers to study social effects of N.C. hurricane
5. UNC-CH experiments reveal new pen can disinfect water
6. UNC-CH bus brings mobile lab, high-tech science focus to underserved N.C. schools
7. UNC-CH researchers to comb N.C. mountains for iron problem chiefly affecting Scots, Irish
8. UNC-CH biologists identify new order of marine fungi
9. UNC-CH scientist finds smallest number of genes needed for organisms survival
10. UNC-CH scientist encourages all to watch PBS series on microbes
11. Prestigious new nutrition research center being established at UNC-CH with NIH funding

Post Your Comments:

(Date:8/14/2019)... ... 2019 , ... An upcoming episode of Advancements with Ted ... helping to promote normal immune function in order to prevent and fight cancer. ... DECODE.DESIGN.CURE™ technology platform, which rapidly develops microbiome therapeutics in order to enable a ...
(Date:8/14/2019)... ... August 13, 2019 , ... Join Anguraj Sadanandam, PhD, Team ... Cancer Research (ICR) in a live webinar on Wednesday, September 4, ... and companion diagnostic development including machine learning approaches in different gastrointestinal cancers and ...
(Date:8/6/2019)... , ... August 05, 2019 , ... Keck Graduate Institute ... School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (SPHS). , “Dean Zdanowicz is highly regarded as ... Trustees Chairman Jim Widergren. “He is a great choice to build on the success ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:8/23/2019)... ... 22, 2019 , ... An upcoming episode of Advancements with ... 4Q/2019. Check your local listings for more information. , This segment will educate ... on therapeutics for children and the elderly, viewers will learn about Avro’s core ...
(Date:8/7/2019)... ... 07, 2019 , ... Locus Agricultural Solutions (Locus AG) reports record levels of ... including Rhizolizer ® , which is pulling up to 121% more carbon into ... to date. Results from the treatment of almonds, cherries, turf/sod, grapes and citrus across ...
(Date:8/4/2019)... ... 02, 2019 , ... Cirtec Medical Corporation, a strategic outsourcing partner for complex ... begun construction on a 30,000 sq. ft. manufacturing facility in the Coyol free ... The facility, which is expected to be fully operational by the end of the ...
(Date:7/19/2019)... ... July 18, 2019 , ... World renowned ... be joining forces with California-based charity Coalition Duchenne for its 9th Annual Expedition ... raises awareness and funding for Duchenne muscular dystrophy and was founded by Sabahan ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
Cached News: