Ultrafast laser records droplet temperature at –46° Celsius
Gregory Stewart, SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory
Using a miniature water gun and a powerful laser, researchers have probed tiny water droplets at –46° Celsius, the lowest temperature that ordinary water has ever been detected in the liquid phase.
“It’s a world record, and it’s hard to imagine it will ever fall,” says H. Eugene Stanley, a physicist at Boston University.
The study, published in the June 19 Nature, marks the first time that scientists have observed liquid water in the low-temperature region where water’s already unusual properties are expected to become even weirder. By studying such cold conditions, researchers hope to understand water’s quirks at all temperatures and how life takes advantage of them.
Water’s odd properties make it special for life. Unlike most substances, water is denser in liquid form than as a solid, which allows aquatic creatures to survive in pockets of liquid