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Particles and Droplets at Nanostructured Interfaces : Metastability and Thermally Activated Dynamics - Carlos Colosqui

Stony Brook University, USA

Our fundamental understanding of wetting, adsorption, and imbibition phenomena is embodied in classical mathematical descriptions such as the Young-Dupre, Young-Laplace, and Lucas-Washburn equations. These mathematical descriptions are derived under the assumption that interfaces are ideally smooth surfaces (e.g., planes, spheres, differentiable surfaces) that separate perfectly homogeneous liquid or solid phases. Such idealization leads to the prediction of stable thermodynamic systems with a single energy minimum and without metastable states. An increasing volume of experimental evidence indicates that the interplay between metastable states induced by nanoscale heterogeneities of solid/liquid interfaces and thermal fluctuations can have significant effects in the evolution of diverse multiphase systems. In this presentation, I will discuss recent experimental, theoretical, and computational studies of nano/microparticle adsorption at liquid interfaces, spontaneous droplet spreading, and nano/microcapillary imbibition. In these systems, wetting processes exhibit a remarkable transition from “dynamic” regimes, dominated by hydrodynamic and capillary forces, to “kinetic” regimes governed by random thermally activated processes. Presented results and proposed models indicate potential pathways to control wetting processes via specific combinations of system-level geometry and nanoscale surface structure.


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