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X-Ray Studies of the Liquid/Vapor Interface: Water and Polymer and Fatty Acid Monolayers on Water

  • M. L. Schlossman (a1), D. K. Schwartz (a1), E. H. Kawamoto (a1), G. J. Kellogg (a1), P. S. Pershan (a1), B. M. Ocko (a2), M. W. Kim (a3) and T. C. Chung (a3)...


X-ray specular reflectivity is used to study the liquid-vapor interface of pure water and of fatty acid and polymer monolayers at that interface. For the pure water surface the reflectivity was measured for three different spectrometer resolutions and simultaneous fits with only one free parameter to all of the data are in excellent agreement with the prediction of capillary wave theory for the RMS surface roughness. Diffuse scattering away from the specular condition, at wavevectors corresponding to those of the capillary waves, yields intensities and line shapes in agreement with theory with no significant adjustable parameters. Reflectivity from separate monolayers of co-poly 1,2-butadiene/butyl alcohol (50% random substitution) and lignoceric acid (CH3(CH2)22COOH) at the water/vapor interface are interpreted to obtain profiles of the average electron density ρ(z) as a function of distance z along the surface normal. For the polymer monolayer we find the following: 1) a local maximum in the electron density approximately 10% larger than that of the bulk polymer and 2) the RMS roughness of the vapor/polymer interface agrees with capillary wave theory predictions for the lower surface pressures. For the highest surface pressure the RMS roughness exceeds the value predicted by the capillary wave model. Measurements of reflectivity from a lignoceric acid monolayer, as a function of surface pressure throughout an isotherm (near room temperature), reveal the following behavior: 1) the overall thickness of the monolayer increases with increasing pressure and 2) the head groups occupy a progressively larger region along the surface normal as the pressure increases, indicating that they rearrange normal to the interface.



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