Classification of precursors in nanoscale droplets

RE Isele-Holder and AE Ismail, PHYSICAL REVIEW E, 93, 043319 (2016).

DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevE.93.043319

Molecular precursors, ultrathin films that precede spreading droplets, are still far from being understood, despite intensive study. The inherent microscopic length scales make small-scale experimental techniques and molecular simulation ideal methods to study this phenomenon. Previous work on molecular precursors using nanoscale droplets, however, consistently suffers from incorrect measurement of the dimensions of the precursor film. An alternative method to accurately characterize the precursor film is presented here. In contrast to previous measures, this method (i) allows for easy detection and characterization of precursors and (ii) yields wetting dynamics that agree with experimental observations. Finally, we briefly comment on previous studies whose conclusions may merit reconsideration in light of the present work.

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