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Spreading kinetics at a molecular level

  • Jean-Luc Buraud (a1), Olivier Noel (a1) and Dominique Ausserre (a1)


The spreading of a smectic nanodrop (8CB liquid crystal) on a solid surface was investigated by direct and real time imaging using the Surface Enhanced Ellipsometric Contrast (SEEC) microscopy [1-2]. The spreading ends with two molecular terraces (made of one monolayer and a bilayer). Two different behaviors were observed. In the first one the upper layer stays dense while shrinking. At the end of the process, the last molecules to disappear are located at the center of the initial disk. In the second one, nucleation and growth of holes is observed in the upper layer, in addition to shrinking. A model is proposed to describe the time evolution of the late stage structure. This model gives exact solutions of the kinetic equations, it covers strongly layered liquids such as smectic liquid crystals, it introduces the two dimensional Laplace pressure as an essential motor for spreading and it takes into account the liquid/gas transition in the surface layer that was consistently reported in experiments with 8CB. This model is in remarkable agreement with the experimental data and can explain the two observed behaviors [3].



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[14] Ausserre, D., Buraud, JL., J. Chem. Phys. To be published.


Spreading kinetics at a molecular level

  • Jean-Luc Buraud (a1), Olivier Noel (a1) and Dominique Ausserre (a1)


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