Systems and methods for supporting a liquid against a vacuum pressure in a chamber can enable analysis of the liquid surface using vacuum-based chemical analysis instruments. No electrical or fluid connections are required to pass through the chamber walls. The systems can include a reservoir, a pump, and a liquid flow path. The reservoir contains a liquid-phase sample. The pump drives flow of the sample from the reservoir, through the liquid flow path, and back to the reservoir. The flow of the sample is not substantially driven by a differential between pressures inside and outside of the liquid flow path. An aperture in the liquid flow path exposes a stable portion of the liquid-phase sample to the vacuum pressure within the chamber. The radius, or size, of the aperture is less than or equal to a critical value required to support a meniscus of the liquid-phase sample by surface tension.
STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT
This invention was made with Government support under Contract DE-AC0576RL01830 awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy. The Government has certain rights in the invention.