Stable freestanding thin films of pure water
Obtaining water microstructures is very difficult because of low viscosity and high surface tension. We produced stable freestanding thin films of pure water by x-ray bombardment of small liquid volumes in capillary tubes. A detailed characterization with phase-contrast radiology demonstrated a lifetime beyond 1 h with no chemical stabilizer for micron-thickness films with half-millimeter-level diameter. This can be attributed to the interplay of two x-ray effects: water evaporation and surface charging. (C) 2008 American Institute of Physics.