1) Water as a macroscopic quantum system

Quantum physics describes the laws that govern the microscopic world of single particles or molecules, whereas classical physics apply to macroscopic systems. There are a few exceptions where the bizarre features of the quantum world become visible macroscopically. Superfluid liquid helium is an example hereof, and liquid water can be considered another, even more special one. This session deals with the quantum field description of liquid water, experimentally observable features through boson condensation, and the breath-taking consequences for physics and emerging technologies.


Nigel Dyer, University of Warwick & Coherent Water Systems Ltd:

An enzyme is a protein that catalyses a chemical reaction. The Ecto-NOX protein is unusual in that it catalyses two different reactions, and alternates between them with a period of 24 minutes. James and Dorothy Morré have been investigating the basis of this oscillation for over 30 years, and ten years ago they were surprised to find that water plays a key role in this oscillation. Their conclusion was that the oscillation is linked to changes in the proportion of the two spin isomers of the water molecules that surrounds the protein. More recent work by others casts doubt on this interpretation of the experimental results. An alternative interpretation will be presented where the oscillation is linked to a long range quantum interaction between the water molecules. The results of the Morrés’ investigations into the Ecto-NOX oscillation is consistent with an interaction between water molecules that is associated with the spins of the protons that form the nucleus of the hydrogen atoms.

John Swain, Northeastern University:
Water has turned out to be an endlessly fascinating substance, with properties that set it aside from all other liquids in dramatic ways. Here I introduce the simple but remarkable observation that water can, in many ways, be thought of as a liquid intrinsic semiconductor. Addition of other substances and play the role of dopants in conventional solid semiconductors. This leads to the possibility of imagining electronic devices which can act as diodes and transistors made out of little more than water and appropriate boundaries and/or dopants. In fact, dopants need not necessarily be added, as evidenced by the “water battery” which generates a potential difference across the exclusion zone due to light, and the exclusion zone itself, and extensions, can also provide for semiconductor-type devices. This line of thinking immediately suggests a wide range of experimental and theoretical work which might otherwise not be of obvious interest and with possible implications for living systems.

Adam D. Wexler, Wetsus:
Liquid matter represents a significant challenge to our current notions of how matter and energy organize. The interplay between a very high number of similar particles with overlapping but diverse energy states poses a problem in that it obscures both non-trivial dynamics and structure behind the curtain of the isotropic homogeneous limit – a hypothetical limitation beyond which fluctuations are thought to ’cancel’ and the bulk or macroscopic properties of the liquid emerges. Recent work on a class of non-equilibrium phenomena where liquids develop unusual and easily observable behavior such as flowing between two containers under the influence of an electric field have revealed that not only are there non-trivial interactions at intermediate length scales (mesoscale) but that there are demonstrable changes in the organization of such systems that indicate the onset of quantum control on continuum properties. In this paper we report on experimental evidence for phonon mediated long range coherent dynamics in liquid water. A spontaneous breakdown in the rotational symmetry of the water dipole results in the formation of a mass-less boson that couples the EM field and the molecular dipoles. This results in polarization waves that act to dynamically focus charge into regions of liquid that propagate in the field. These regions can easily be visualized using shadowgraphy as the altered charge causes changes in the refractive index of the liquid. Furthermore, the underlying phonon modes can be observed as low frequency side bands appearing on the asymmetric stretch of free OH groups in the water hydrogen bonding network. Such findings reveal that it is possible to not only establish long-range order in liquid matter, but that the resulting perturbations exhibit well defined topology and locality. These findings provide both experimental and theoretical inroads to establishing physical control of mesostates in liquid matter, and could signal the beginning of a new technological capacity akin to the way bio-molecules shape the local aqueous environment to improve reaction efficiencies in living matter.

Jakob Woisetschlaeger, Graz University of Technology:
For many decades, optical measurement techniques for flow diagnostics with and without combustion, for shape detection and for plasma diagnostics have been developed and applied at Graz University of Technology in Austria. On the other hand, the applied water physics group at Wetsus in the Netherlands focus on the exploration of basic properties of water, especially its interactions with electric, magnetic and electromagnetic fields and the effect of such interactions on living organisms like bacteria. The joint research at Wetsus and TU Graz is an excellent example which shows how we can break new grounds by working across multiple disciplines and relying on different expertise. An example will be given how deeper insights into the fundamentals of water were obtained within this cooperation throughout the last years.


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