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Watching water heat up at ultrahigh time scales
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Under extreme conditions and short time scales, water can remain a liquid at temperatures exceeding 170 degrees Celsius.
At very short time scales, matter can act very differently from how it behaves in everyday life. Powerful X-ray lasers are promising for probing the short-time-scale dynamics of matter, but this has been difficult to date because the energy of their pulses can fluctuate.
Now, by realizing an unprecedented beam stability, a team that included researchers at the University of Hamburg in Germany has used the most powerful X-ray laser in the world to explore how water behaves when heated rapidly on time scales of a millionth of a second.
This understanding of how superheated water behaves will be valuable for predicting how water-containing heat-sensitive samples will act under similar conditions.
- PNAS USA 117, 24110–24116 (2020). doi: 10.1073/pnas.2003337117