"The Fourth Phase" "Breaking Symmetry"
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Scientific interest in water nanoclusters has been motivated by their roles as structured water in biology, their atmospheric contributions to global warming, and their relevance to the structure and properties of liquid water and ice. Experiment and theory agree that not only can such water clusters be produced, but also they exist optimally in certain numbers (so-called magic numbers) and configurations of water molecules. Prominent among the magic-number water clusters are ones having a buckyball-like pentagonal dodecahedral structure. These clusters have a closed, ideally icosahedral symmetry formed by 20 hydrogen-bonded water molecules, with their oxygen atoms at the vertices of 12 concatenated pentagons and with 10 free exterior hydrogen atoms, as illustrated for an (H2O)20 cluster in the movies and figure above.
Water nanoclusters are essential to biology and health, being key to proper protein folding and normal biological cell structure and function. Yet in Earth's atmosphere they are many times more potent than the carbon dioxide molecule as a greenhouse gas responsible for global warming. Thus it is important to understand the physics and chemistry of water nanoclusters to the degree that one can optimize their beneficial roles while controlling their harmful effects. In these regards, the vibrational properties of water nanoclusters, which extend into the terahertz (THz) region of the electromagnetic spectrum, are very important along with their electronic structures.
Liquid water can be restructured into nanoclusters of water molecules through natural evaporation, biologically in cells and proteins, or in proprietary water-in-oil (W/O) nanoemulsions employing surfactants that produce water reverse micelles in the oil base If the oil base is diesel or biodiesel fuel, such nanoemulsions can be used to significantly lower harmful combustion pollution (particulate matter and NOx) in a conventional diesel engine. If the oil base is a mineral oil, the nanoemulsions can be used to produce transdermal drug carriers and cosmetics.
For science details see: "Water Buckyball Terahertz Vibrations in Physics, Chemistry, Biology, and Cosmology", by Keith Johnson, http://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/0902/0902.2035.pdf and "Water Vapor: An Extraordinary Terahertz Wave Source under Optical Excitation" by Keith Johnson et al., http://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/0902/0902.2024.pdf published in Physics Letters A372, 6037 (2008).