A team of Swedish researchers has managed to create the world’s most powerful laser water heater that, with the help of X rays, it can make water reach 100,000 degrees Celsius in only 75 femtoseconds. If this sounds too complicated, this timespan corresponds to the equivalent of millions and millions of parts of a second. In fact, water goes beyond boiling and turns immediately into plasma.
The fastest laser water heater
Researchers from Uppsala University and CFEL (Center for Free-Electron Laser Science) built a laser water heater that turned out to be the fastest in the world. Researchers didn’t just want to boil water as quickly as possible, but to study what states it can reach. This can reveal a lot of interesting things and can have many other applications.
However, the heater doesn’t work just like any regular tool. It doesn’t boil water like other equipment does but, instead, shots powerful light rays through it. Usually, boiling is just an agitation of the water particles and, the powerful the boiling tool is, the more rapid the movements get. However, the laser water heater goes beyond this step.
The heater turned the water into plasma
The X rays used by the heater hit the water particles so hard that they displace their electrons. This way, water suffers a disruption in its electrical charges. The phenomenon makes the particles move at incredible speeds and we achieve the fastest heating process. However, we also notice something more. Water stops being liquid and turns into plasma.
This type of matter is usually really hot, electrically charged, and with displaced electrons. However, in this case, it still preserves some of the properties of its previous state. Since everything happens in less than a second, these particles don’t have time to move enough, so water has the same density as before.
The building of the laser water heater is not the only great achievement of the researchers. Water in plasma form doesn’t occur naturally on Earth, so being able to produce it so quickly is truly remarkable. They also wrote a study that was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
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