New Water or Original Blueprint Tiny quantities of water are different thanks to quantum mechanics Water’s strange and life-giving qualities could be at least partly explained by quantum mechanics.
That is the claim being made by a group of physicists in the UK and the US, who have made extremely sensitive measurements of the protons in tiny samples of water and have found that these protons behave very differently to those in much larger sample.
For example, the fact that it is less dense as a solid than as a liquid and that its maximum density occurs at 4 °C, means that lakes freeze from the top-down rather than the bottom-up — something that was vital to sustaining life during ice ages.
In the latest work, George Reiter of the University of Houston and colleagues study in detail the key to water’s unusual properties — the hydrogen bond.
This is the bond between water molecules, connecting the oxygen atom of one molecule to the hydrogen atom in another.
Hydrogen bonds are usually considered primarily as an electrostatic phenomena, in other words that water consists of discrete molecules bound to one another through positive and negative charges (residing on the hydrogen and oxygen atoms respectively).
This simple picture is able to explain some of water’s features, such as its structure — the predictions of the model agreeing well with the results of neutron-scattering experiments that reveal how far apart on average one oxygen atom is from the next.
Poor proton predictions What Reiter and team have found, however, is that this electrostatic model cannot be used to predict the energies of individual protons within water molecules.
They came to this conclusion after confining water inside 1.6 nm-diameter carbon nanotubes and then exposing these nanotubes to high-energy neutrons from the ISIS neutron source at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in the UK.
The neutrons’ high energy meant that they bounced off the protons within the water before the deflected protons had a chance to interact with their surroundings, so by recording the energy distribution of the outgoing neutrons the researchers were able to obtain a direct measurement of the momentum distribution and kinetic energy of the protons.
They found that the momentum distribution of the protons was strongly temperature dependent, with as much as 50% more kinetic energy than the electrostatic model predicts at low temperatures and 20% more kinetic energy at room temperature.
In this way the hydrogen bonds form what is known as a “connected electronic network” and they speculate that it is the response of the network to confinement that causes the large changes in proton energy.
Atoms, Molecules and Water
Based on astronomical studies, it is believed that space within the emerging universe contained hydrogen nuclei (protons) with a mass of 1 and a charge of +1 and electrons with little or no mass and a charge of -1. As oppositely-charged entities, they combined to form hydrogen atoms with the negative electron circling the proton. But the electron not only circles the proton, it spins around its own axis and, in spinning, generates a magnetic field. To neutralize that field, electrons form pairs and bond two hydrogen atoms together to form the hydrogen molecule, H2.
Atoms of the other elements appear to have been formed by the fusion of hydrogen nuclei in the stars. In these nuclear fusions, a small portion of the mass of the proton was converted into energy to fuel the stellar furnace. However, as the store of hydrogen in the stars declined, they began to decrease in size. Remaining hydrogen, helium and other nuclei became compressed with such incredible forces that massive, nuclear fusion events occurred. Small nuclei were compressed together in an instant to form heavier nuclei, like oxygen, nitrogen and iron, which were discharged into space to combine with electrons to yield new atoms and then new molecules, like oxygen, O2, nitrogen, N2 and water, H2O.
Of all the molecules produced in these celestial explosions, those of water possessed the unique structural feature of bonding two positively-charged hydrogen atoms at two corners while leaving two negatively-charged electron pairs at the other two corners.
To neutralize surface charges, these small polarized units behaved like spinning magnets which spontaneously aligned together and then hydrogen-bonded together to form short linear segments.
As these short segments soared through space, additional water molecules hydrogen-bonded to the ends to extend the chains, then bonded to the sides to form two-dimensional, hexagonal forms and then to the other side to produce three-dimensional lattices of solid ice – all composed of linearly, hydrogen-bonded water molecules. But the ice lattices which formed in space were not the same as those which form on earth.
As snowflakes form in the upper atmosphere at temperatures of 60 degrees below zero, water molecules assemble as linear elements – the same as they did in outer space. However, as the snowflakes fall to earth, the water molecules gain sufficient energy to rearrange and produce the spatial form of ice with which we are more familiar – “hexagonal.” In this form, molecules in the horizontal planes are still in linear elements, but they have rearranged diagonally to position the hexagonal units above each other. The rearrangement increases the overall thermodynamic stability of the water molecules relative to each other but, at the same time, disrupts linearity in the vertical planes.
Classically, the term ”Hydrogen Bond,” has been used to explain why water has such high melting and boiling points relative to other substances. For example, each water molecule in liquid water often is viewed as being hydrogen-bonded to three or four other water molecules and compared with methane molecules, CH4, which have about the same size and mass (or weight) but essentially no surface charge.
The difference in attraction between molecules in water and those in methane, as displayed by the boiling points above, is spectacular: 470degrees F (243 degrees C). Usually, this is attributed to the hydrogen-bonding of three or four water molecules around a central water molecule, as shown above. However, recent studies at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center provide evidence that, at any instant, each water molecule in liquid water is hydrogen-bonded to a maximum of two water molecules to form a short linear triplet. High-speed infrared spectroscopy supports the view that a maximum of three water molecules are hydrogen-bond together at any instant in liquid water.
It is important to realize that, even though these high-speed techniques illustrate that this type of linear triplet forms in liquid water, it lasts for less than a billionth of a second, about 10-12 seconds; then the molecules return to separate, random, spinning forms which are held together by their polarity – by the opposite charges on their surfaces – not by specific hydrogen bonds.
However, our concept of the structural and structuring nature of liquid water has changed dramatically over the past few years. In 2003, Professor Chatzidimitriou-Driesmann and his group in Germany reported that only 1.5 protons were scattered per water molecule rather 2 when pure liquid water was irradiated with ultra high speed neutrons at 10-18 seconds. The result indicated, not only that the spins on the two protons on water molecules couple but spins on neighboring water molecules couple to produce quantized “entanglement” waves. Since these waves form at speeds of about 10-15 seconds, thousands of times more rapidly than the movement of molecules dissolved in water, linear ordering is continually being expressed on their surfaces. Thus, it appears that three types of structuring exist in liquid water: 1) water molecules are continually drawn into lines by polarity, 2) they form short hydrogen-bonded units which last about 10-12 seconds and 3) they form proton-coupled linear waves which last about 10-15 seconds.
Of course, at the interface with air, water molecules are stopped by impact – energy of motion and rotation is momentarily lost and they are held side by side long enough to be drawn together and aligned to form even more triplets and slightly longer linear elements, like they do in the upper atmosphere.
In 1972, Drs. Narten and Levy deflected X-rays off the surface of pure water and used the diffraction pattern produced to determine the structural character of water molecules at the air/water interface. As illustrated above, most of the water molecules on the surface are about 2.9 angstroms apart but short hydrogen-bonded units involving three and four molecules also are present. Since a much smaller number of these ordered units exist at any instant and the distances between molecules on the ends vary as much as 0.4 angstroms, the peaks are much smaller and wider. Thus, even though water molecules at the air/water interface form a multitude of short, transient, one-dimensional segments of hydrogen-bonded molecules, there is little evidence that two-dimensional, hexagonal forms, like those present in ice, are formed. For example, pure liquid water in clean container can be supercooled well below the freezing point of 0oC (32oF) without crystallizing to form ice. However, if iodine crystals, with iodine molecules on their surfaces in the same positions as water molecules in ice, are placed in contact with supercooled water, ice forms immediately. If iodine crystals are in contact with water, supercooling is impossible. Substances with surface atoms in the same hexagonal positions as water molecules in the surface of ice serve as seeds for ice formation.
The same type of two-dimensional seeding occurs if gasoline or oil is placed on the surface of water. Supercooling is impossible because liquid hydrocarbon molecules in contact with water molecules assemble in the same hexagonal arrangement as the iodine molecules in solid iodine. As shown below, hydrocarbon molecules in contact with water assemble side-by-side and spin around their axes – they can exchange positions but are restricted from rotating end-over-end. At the same time, water molecules are restricted in their motion by continually being drawn into linear and hexagonal bonding relationships.
The surface of water is smoothed and calmed by this increase in strength of hydrogen-bonding and by the formation of transient elements of linear and hexagonal order. However, the molecules have too much energy to be held in these ordered forms for very long – “they want to be free.” Thus, ordered arrangements last for only about 10-9 seconds and then the molecules return to their rotating, spinning forms and others take their place as transiently-ordered units. In fact, hydrocarbon and water molecules spontaneously move away from each other to minimize contact and increase their freedom of motion; to increase Entropy, so they can move and spin more freely. Two simple little experiments demonstrate this Second Law of Thermodynamics. If oil and water are mixed rapidly, small droplets form. However, if the mixture is permitted to stand, the droplets coalesce into a single layer – the liquids move spontaneously to minimize the contact intersurface between oil and water molecules.
If water is placed on an oil or wax surface, it forms balls, once again, to minimize two-dimensional order between water and hydrocarbon in favor of contact with air.
Paradoxically, it was this spontaneous movement of water and hydrocarbon molecules away from each other to reduce two-dimensional order and increase freedom that drove the development of natural molecules to ever-increasing levels of higher order. As you will see when we view the spatial structures of natural molecules, it is the distribution and nature of atoms on each surface which defines the degree and orientation of linear order in water on those surfaces. Just as the hydrocarbon molecules in oil spontaneously move away from contact with ordering water in favor of associations with their own kind, water-ordering (hydrophobic) surfaces on molecules, such as polypeptides, spontaneously assemble side-by-side to permit water to leave. As water-ordering regions assemble to produce the internal regions of natural molecules, water-ordering regions on external surfaces continue to influence the orientation of surface water to integrate motions and interactions with other molecules.
For example, the insulin molecule shown below is produced from a single linear strand of polypeptide which spontaneously wraps into linear coiled segments with water-ordering and disordering regions on their surfaces. By spontaneously fitting the ordering regions of the coils together to release water, a finished molecule is produced with an external geometry which continues to permit transient linear elements of water to form on its surfaces. It is these transient linear surface elements which regulate its interactions with regions of water-ordering on molecules and membranes around it.
Although external surfaces of finished insulin molecules have enough water-disordering groups to provide for water solubility, they still have enough ordering regions to permit surface water to form structure-stabilizing linear elements and guide it into complimentary-ordered regions in membranal proteins to regulate glucose uptake. Thus, as molecules were produced at random during the early phases of molecule formation, spontaneous assembly produced sets of molecules with unique functions. A molecular world was produced in which surface water provided for spatial control and in which movement in one molecule was instantly communicated to others by proton entanglement. It was a world in which the rules of spontaneity were reversed: random small molecules assembled, utilizing energy from the sun, to produce more complex molecular systems. Molecular surfaces and adjacent linearizing water operated symbiotically to produce the phenomenon we call “life.”
IONS AND PROTONIC CHARGE
However, there was another property of atoms which played a critical role in the assembly of molecules and the development of living cells. When sodium atoms come in contact with chlorine atoms, the lone electron on sodium moves into the open orbital of chlorine to form a pair – the sodium atom becomes a positively charged sodium ion; the chlorine becomes a negatively charged chlorine ion.
In the solid crystalline form of salt, sodium and chloride ions are in a ridged lattice but, as they dissolve in water, both ions become surrounded by water molecules to delocalize their charge.
In this way, surrounding water molecules accept part of the positive charge of the sodium ion and those around the chloride ion, part of its negative charge. In fact, small ions like sodium tightly bind four or six water molecules around them and have several additional layers of water molecules more loosely bond in a spherical form. However, even though these hydrating water molecules accept a portion of the charge on the ions, their positive and negative charges are so strong that they continually draw a finite number of spinning, polarized water molecules between them.
If the ions are far apart, water molecules between them simply orient their spins to help neutralize the charge. However, the strong opposite charges on the ions continually draw water molecules within hydrogen-bonding distances from each other.
When this happens, a unique type of charge-transfer reaction occurs in the triplets.
In liquid water, the small, positively-charged, proton nucleus of a hydrogen atom on one water molecule moves into the electron pair lobe of the adjacent molecule. This converts the acceptor molecule into a positively-charged hydronium ion and leaves the donor as a negatively-charged hydroxide ion. In pure water, only about one in a million molecules undergoes this spontaneous ionization reaction at any instant, but in water containing ions like sodium and chloride, it is another mechanism by which the charge potentials on ions and molecules are minimized and neutralized.
By transferring protons from one hydrogen-bonded water molecule to the next, in cascade fashion, water molecules bound to each ion can assume an opposite charge and provide even broader, spatial distribution and neutralization of the charge. Although the process appears complex, proton pulses continually resonant as quantized waves back and forth between the ions. By the above mechanisms, about 90% of the charge on ions is transferred to water.
Since ionization in pure water is extremely low, it is an insulator, but sea water, like water within cells, is a good conductor because it contains about 3% sodium chloride. At low external voltages, current is carried through salt water primarily by the ions but, if the voltage is high enough, water molecules align between the ions and pulses are transferred like lightening bolts by protons cascading through polarized linear segments of water molecules from one ionic center to the next. In the axons of nerve fibers, this linear transfer of protonic charge along the inner surfaces of the membranes permits extremely rapid, almost superconductive transfer of positive pulse.
Just as the assembly of polypeptides, based on the association of water ordering surfaces, played a critical role in the production of early proteins, the linear conduction of charge between ions and charges on surfaces played a vital role in the early development of functional nucleic acids as well. Although the small RNA molecule pictured above has no lipid-ordering surfaces like those in the insulin molecule, strong internal hydrogen-bonds hold the molecule in a geometric form that, once again, permits dynamic linearization of water on its surfaces. In this case, transient linear elements serve the vital role of transmitting the high negative charge on its surfaces to positive ions, like sodium and calcium, around it. Once again, the internal coiled segments, as they packed together to optimize hydrogen-bonding, produced a molecule with external geometry which permitted transient linear elements of water molecules to stabilize the structure and provide for spontaneous assembly and function on the water-ordering surfaces of huge ribosomal molecules which produce genetically-coded polypeptides.
Thus, in the early formation of natural molecules, it was energy from the sun which tied small molecules together to produce large complexes but it was the transient linearization of water adjacent surfaces and between oppositely-charged ions that dramatically-limited the options of molecular forms which could form and function spontaneously together. As you will see, molecules which satisfied the spatial requirements of surface linearization were stabilized and survived – those that did not were unstable and hydrolyzed back to the molecules from which they came.
Now we will look at the spatial features of a molecule which reflects the hexagonal geometry of water, which provided the spatial template for all future molecules and which became the most abundant molecule on earth.
For example, they found that when water was confined within the industrial material Nafion, a proton-exchange membrane used in fuel cells, the protons had nearly twice the kinetic energy as bulk water.
That tells me that the quantum state is fitting into the cylinder and that it matters how big the cylinder is.”