The discovery of a “revolutionary” phenomenon that could solve an 80-year-old mystery The discovery of a “revolutionary” phenomenon that could solve an 80-year-old mystery

The discovery of a “revolutionary” phenomenon that could solve an 80-year-old mystery

The discovery of a “revolutionary” phenomenon that could solve an 80-year-old mystery

Scientists have discovered a phenomenon related to water that will radically change their understanding of how the world works and could lead to entirely new technologies.

For thousands of years, humans have observed and used evaporation, the process by which water turns from a liquid into vapor. However, a recent groundbreaking discovery by researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) challenges our traditional understanding of evaporation, and their findings reveal that light, not just heat, plays a crucial role in catalyzing this phenomenon.

A team from MIT has uncovered a process called the photomolecular effect, which shows for the first time that water can evaporate without a heat source using light alone.

The team found that light hitting the water's surface can directly liberate water molecules, causing them to evaporate into the air. This effect occurs independently of temperature, upending our long-standing belief that thermal energy is the sole driver of evaporation.

This research may solve an 80-year-old mystery about why clouds absorb sunlight in a way that seems to defy the laws of physics.

For decades, scientists and climate experts have puzzled over the discrepancy in how clouds absorb more light than conventional models predict. Scientists now suggest that the newly discovered mechanism may be responsible for this excess absorption, which could lead to improved climate calculations associated with clouds.

“The discovery of evaporation caused by light rather than heat provides new knowledge of the light-water interaction,” says Xiulin Ruan, a professor of mechanical engineering at Purdue University, who was not involved in the research. “It could help us gain a new understanding of how sunlight interacts with clouds, fog, and oceans.” And other natural bodies of water to influence weather and climate.”

He added: “This research is among a rare group of truly revolutionary discoveries that are not widely accepted by the scientific community immediately, but sometimes take a long time to confirm.”

He continued: "This discovery could impact everything from climate change calculations to weather forecasts, while also opening up new practical applications for things like energy and clean water production."

Early applications are likely to come within solar-powered desalination systems, according to the scientists, allowing for a more efficient way to produce fresh water than current technologies.

“I think this has a lot of applications,” said Zhang Chen, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who participated in the research. “We are exploring all these different directions. Of course, it also affects basic science, such as the effects of clouds on climate, because clouds are an important aspect of The most ambiguous climate models.

The findings were published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), in a study titled “The photomolecular effect: the interaction of visible light with the air-water interface.”

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