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The effect of nanometre-scale structure on interfacial energy

Kuna, J.J.; Voïtchovsky, K.; Singh, C.; Jiang, H.; Mwenifumbo, S.; Ghorai, P.K.; Stevens, M.M.; Glotzer, S.C.; Stellacci, F.

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J.J. Kuna

C. Singh

H. Jiang

S. Mwenifumbo

P.K. Ghorai

M.M. Stevens

S.C. Glotzer

F. Stellacci


Natural surfaces are often structured with nanometre-scale domains, yet a framework providing a quantitative understanding of how nanostructure affects interfacial energy, italic gammaSL, is lacking. Conventional continuum thermodynamics treats italic gammaSL solely as a function of average composition, ignoring structure. Here we show that, when a surface has domains commensurate in size with solvent molecules, italic gammaSL is determined not only by its average composition but also by a structural component that causes italic gammaSL to deviate from the continuum prediction by a substantial amount, as much as 20% in our system. By contrasting surfaces coated with either molecular- (<2 nm) or larger-scale domains (>5 nm), we find that whereas the latter surfaces have the expected linear dependence of italic gammaSL on surface composition, the former show a markedly different non-monotonic trend. Molecular dynamics simulations show how the organization of the solvent molecules at the interface is controlled by the nanostructured surface, which in turn appreciably modifies italic gammaSL.


Kuna, J., Voïtchovsky, K., Singh, C., Jiang, H., Mwenifumbo, S., Ghorai, P., …Stellacci, F. (2009). The effect of nanometre-scale structure on interfacial energy. Nature Materials, 8(10), 837-842.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Sep 1, 2009
Deposit Date Sep 9, 2013
Publicly Available Date Feb 12, 2015
Journal Nature Materials
Print ISSN 1476-1122
Electronic ISSN 1476-4660
Publisher Nature Research
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 8
Issue 10
Pages 837-842


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