Saykally explores the water octomer

Pictorial illustration of water octamer.

For a simple compound that is central to almost every aspect of our existence, water remains fiendishly difficult to understand.

Chemistry professor Rich Saykally and co-workers have taken a step forward by characterizing the water octamer, a cluster of eight water molecules in a roughly cubic form.

The octamer is important because it represents a transition to structures formed by stacking quasi-planar rings, a dominant pattern in larger systems.