A crystal that might make breathing possible underwater, without using oxygen masks and tanks, has been developed by researchers.
Just 10 litres of the "Aquaman Crystal" could absorb all the oxygen from the room and it could hold three times as much oxygen than oxygen tanks, which would be far smaller and lighter to carry, and could slowly release oxygen when put under a small amount of heat, the Independent reported.
AdvertisementThe material that has sponge-like consistency uses cobalt bound in an organic molecule. Cobalt gives the new material precisely the molecular and electronic structure that enables it to absorb oxygen from its surroundings. Small amounts of metals are essential for the absorption of oxygen, so actually it would not entirely surprising to see this effect in the new material.
Professor Christine McKenzie said the crystal could be valuable for lung cancer patients who have to carry heavy tanks around with them, and also divers might be able to leave the oxygen tanks at home.
Scientists are now looking at whether the release of oxygen could be triggered by light, though at this stage the crystal was difficult to synthesize in large amounts due to its complex chemical formula.