Volume 46, Number 4, May II 1999
|Page(s)||512 - 518|
|Section||Condensed matter: structure, mechanical and thermal properties|
|Published online||01 September 2002|
Destabilising effect of long-range forces in thin liquid films on wettable substrates
Institut de Chimie des Surfaces et Interfaces, CNRS 15, rue Jean
Starcky, B.P. 2488, 68057 Mulhouse Cedex, France
2 Department of Chemical Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur, U.P. 208016, India
3 Institut Curie, Université Pierre et Marie Curie 11, rue Pierre et Marie Curie, 75231 Paris Cedex 05, France
Accepted: 27 February 1999
Using optical microscopy, we followed the evolution of thin and initially smooth liquid polymer films on wettable solid substrates for different surrounding media. For thicknesses between 30 and 110 nm, we observed an instability of the film, eventually leading to the formation of nanodroplets on a remaining wetting layer. Exchanging the surrounding medium allowed to reverse the process and to re-establish a smooth film. Our results are in accordance with theoretical considerations and computer simulations. Weak but long-ranged dispersion forces may have drastic consequences concerning the morphology of thin liquid films even if short-range interactions force the film to stay on the substrate.
PACS: 68.15.+e – Liquid thin films / 68.55.-a – Thin film structure and morphology / 68.45.-v – Solid-fluid interfaces
© EDP Sciences, 1999
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