Experimental results for the hypersonic impact of singly charged, mass selected, water clusters at a hard surface demonstrate cooling of the heated cluster by sequential loss of a water molecule. The trends in the experiment are most simply summarized as an evaporation. This behavior is in contrast to the shattering phenomena observed for rare gas clusters. The same information theoretic approach that predicted the shattering transition is fully consistent with the results for the water clusters. It shows that the relatively high binding energy per water monomer is the key reason for the anomalous fragmentation. The tetra coordinated oxygen atom in a cluster does however imply that the fragmentation is not a pure evaporation but has residual elements of a shattering transition. For water clusters the transition is broadened to span the finite range in energy between the onset of boiling and the energy when the solvation of the hydronium ion is over and it is bare.
©2014 Walter de Gruyter Berlin/Boston