Suppression of Rupture in Thin, Nonwetting Liquid Films

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Stabilization against the rupture and breakup of thin, nonwetting liquid films spread on surfaces is generally sought by modification of equilibrium interfacial properties.A mechanism for suppressing rupture in such films that uses surface-attached polymers together with free chains in the bulk of the film is reported. Films of an oligostyrene liquid, which rupture within several minutes when spread on a silicon wafer, may be stabilized for many months by a polystyrene brush attached to the substrate, together with some free polystyrene in the liquid. The effect may arise from entanglements of the free chains with the immobilized brush.

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