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The superionic form of water

19 February 2018
A recent study confirms the predictions made by a group of SISSA and ICTP scientists in a study published in science 1999. Liquid and solid at the same time, superionic water could be found on Uranus and Neptune

An original state, both solid and liquid at the same time: this is the latest news on a substance -water- so familiar to everyone but which appears to hold always fresh surprises for scientists. Its name is “superionic water”; it doesn't exist on Earth but it could be abundant inside certain planets of the solar system such as Uranus and Neptune and on many of the exoplanets of more recent discovery. Its existence has now been experimentally confirmed in a study recently published in Nature Physics. Superionic water was only hypothesized in the 1980s, and had been described for the first time by a group of scientists at SISSA and ICTP, in association with a Max-Planck Institute in Stuttgart. For that study, published in Science in 1999, the scholars used highly refined models of realistic computer simulation. The relevance of the two research studies has also been highlighted by a recent article on The New York Times.