About this Author
DBL%20Hendrix%20small.png College chemistry, 1983

Derek Lowe The 2002 Model

Dbl%20new%20portrait%20B%26W.png After 10 years of blogging. . .

Derek Lowe, an Arkansan by birth, got his BA from Hendrix College and his PhD in organic chemistry from Duke before spending time in Germany on a Humboldt Fellowship on his post-doc. He's worked for several major pharmaceutical companies since 1989 on drug discovery projects against schizophrenia, Alzheimer's, diabetes, osteoporosis and other diseases. To contact Derek email him directly: Twitter: Dereklowe

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February 7, 2006

Return of Neowater

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Posted by Derek

An interesting development in the comment threads to the "Nanotech Wonder Water" post was the appearance of Miguel Cizin, of DoCoop, makers of Neowater itself. He's doing a good job looking out after his company's name, and I'm glad to have him here.

I've had a chance to look through their patent application, and I've devoted some thought to the claims made for Neowater. I agree that water takes on different properties next to a solid interface, and I'm willing to stipulate that (othewise insoluble) nanoscale particles might be a way to deliver such interfacial properties throughout bulk water. Starting from that, I have some questions and proposals which I hope that Miguel Cizin and DoCoop will have a chance to take a look at. Warning to my non-chemical readers - I'm about to put on my lab coat good and proper:

1. How much of Neowater's characteristics can be explained under the usual framework of colligative properties? That is, by how much is the boiling point of Neowater elevated, and by how much is its freezing point depressed?

2. Similarly, what's its vapor pressure at STP? Does it show a negative deviation from Raoult's Law (as you'd expect from the descriptions in the patent of Neowater's structure), and is this deviation much greater than expected given the low levels of particulate matter contained? The literature on the DoCoop web site, I should note, mentions that Neowater evaporates more slowly than regular water.

3. In the same vein, what's the surface tension of Neowater as compared to the water it's produced from? I could imagine it going either way - if large clusters of water are occupied around the nanoparticles, the surface layer of water may not form in as ordered a fashion, leading to lower surface tension. On the other hand, if Neowater is better thought of as a collection of larger polar "balls" of hydrated particles, perhaps the value could end up higher.

4. What's the conductivity of Neowater as compared to its untreated form? How does it change in the presence of small amounts of electrolytes as compared to regular water?

5. Have the rates of standard nucleophilic displacement reactions and/or cycloadditions been measured in Neowater? The presence or absence of a polar transition state and the resultant effect on reaction rate would make an interesting test of its properties. (Neowater is stated to be a "more hydrophobic" form of the liquid). Which reminds me: have Neowater's dipole moment and dielectric constant been determined?

6. Has deuterated Neowater been prepared? If so, how do its properties differ from protic Neowater as compared to the differences between water and deuterium oxide? If deuterated Neowater is available, it would make for some extremely interesting NMR experiments, since the DoCoop literature makes much of Neowater's properties with respect to biomolecules. I agree that water in cells is hardly comparable to bulk water - after all, as Arthur Kornberg is fond of stating, "cells are gels". One would thus expect to see conformational changes in the NMR spectra of proteins as they're run in d-Neowater. (Readers are invited to submit candidate biolmolecules for such a test, if I get a chance to run it).

There, that's enough physical chemistry for one evening. I look forward to seeing what we can find out, and to extensions of these ideas by the audience.

Comments (15) + TrackBacks (0) | Category:


1. Abel PharmBoy on February 8, 2006 12:00 PM writes...

Beautifully and elegantly posited, Dr Lowe! What a great case for thinking about basic principles of chemistry and formulating appropriate lines of inquiry. I'll have to remember this next time I serve on an examination committee for a synthetic or medicinal chemistry PhD candidate.

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2. Milo on February 8, 2006 1:26 PM writes...

Wow, I feel like I am back in my Junior year of college, so much P-chem....

I just read Miguel's comments, While I am still skeptical, I have to commend him for speaking up here, this is a tough bunch of folks!

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3. Miguel Cizin on February 8, 2006 1:36 PM writes...

I have spoken with Eran Gabbai, President and CTO, and the inventor of Neowater, and he will help me to provide answers to the questions posted here, and even to questions that were not asked yet.

As long as this forum is skeptical about Eran's invention of 'hydrophobic water' but remains open to learn about novel technologies such as Neowater, I do not mind at all dealing with a tough bunch, and the tougher, the more fun and interesting the challenge is for us!

Miguel Cizin

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4. Derek Lowe on February 8, 2006 2:18 PM writes...

Thanks! I appreciate the effort, and I look forward to seeing what data you can provide. If you like, e-mail me whenever you have something together, and I'll do another post on the results.

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5. ClayNY on February 8, 2006 3:31 PM writes...

Following this is genuinely fun.

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6. PandaFan on February 9, 2006 3:22 PM writes...

With regard to the original claim of improving PCR performance, is there any systematic data on this? Ideally, this would mean a 96 or 384 well plate quantitative PCR with 1/2 the wells run with standard DI water & 1/2 with the magic stuff, with a randomized assignment of which to each well. If you can really show statistically significant differences in an objective quantitative endpoint, that would be something...

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7. Dave H on February 9, 2006 4:18 PM writes...

If you want to get anywhere searching the literature you need to use "vicinal water" as a search term. Sorry, after 1983 I stopped thinking about this and now have forgotten most of it. Drost-Hansen, director of The Lab for Water Research at the U of Miami did work comparing vicinal deuterium oxide to vicinal water. I think I disposed of all my old paper reprints years ago, if I find some good stuff I'll be sure to post

found these on Google scholar
Heat capacity

Old Review of water at interfaces

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8. Derek Lowe on February 9, 2006 4:35 PM writes...

Thanks for the tip. It was looking at these sorts of things that made me willing to say that the idea of Neowater was not completely insane. But I still have a *lot* of questions about the details, as witness the post above. I note that the 2005 Do-Coop patent application lists none of the Drost-Hansen work as relevant literature or prior art.

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9. Dave H on February 10, 2006 10:01 AM writes...

Isn't that always the way with IP. If it's not patent prior art the "inventor" can usually bamboozle the USPTO examiner. At any rate, I've never had one site academic literature for a rejection.

Found some reprints which thoroughly describe experiments which document plenty of anamolous behavior attributed to vicinal water, but none are available online. Way too much work to post this type of thing. Maybe the Neowater people have the time to dig into the references sited in the Ga Tech Review by Frank Etzler, but then again that could just cause them problems with their patent applications.

Nice review of vicinal water anamolies:
Frank M. Etzler and Walter Drost-Hansen
Recent thermodynamic data on vicinal water and a model for their interpretation
Croatia Chemica Acta -CCACAA 56 (4) 563-592 (1983)

Many experiments implicated interfacial water as the cause of various anomolies. The problem with this work is that it is old, and direct observation of water at interfaces was not as possible with the instrumentation of the time.

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10. Anonymous on February 11, 2006 12:38 PM writes...

eh, what density of nanoparticle are we talking about? For any of this vicinal water to apply _most_ of the water need to extremely close to a particle, which requires a fairly high density of nanoparticles.

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11. Chris C on February 11, 2006 2:10 PM writes...

Good point, Anonymous (#10).

I tried to get a free sample of the stuff but apparently they think I'm too dumb to use it without consultation from their technical department. Wake up, guys! I know my assay. I read your protocol. I'm not a dope. And no, I'm not giving you my FedEx account number.

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12. ben goldacre on February 15, 2006 3:11 PM writes...

they've offered to send me some, is there anybody in london who wants to see if this makes their PCR run any faster?

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13. Miguel Cizin on February 21, 2006 5:29 AM writes...

Do-Coop Technologies, following Derek's suggestion, has provided Derek Lowe with answers and data to the posted questions. This was done over a week ago. We look forward to seeing the answers and data published in this blog or in a new one, for all to see.

Miguel Cizin.

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14. Derek Lowe on February 21, 2006 9:25 AM writes...

Thanks! It hasn't shown up in my inbox, so my spam filter must have raked it into my bulk-mail folder. I'll dig through it tonight, and work up another post.

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15. Dale P on November 5, 2007 7:38 AM writes...

Any progress on this?

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