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Phys Rev Lett. 2008 May 2;100(17):176102. Epub 2008 Apr 30.

Fingering instabilities in dewetting nanofluids.

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1
The School of Physics and Astronomy, The University of Nottingham, Nottingham NG7 2RD, United Kingdom.

Abstract

The growth of fingering patterns in dewetting nanofluids (colloidal solutions of thiol-passivated gold nanoparticles) has been followed in real time using contrast-enhanced video microscopy. The fingering instability on which we focus here arises from evaporatively driven nucleation and growth in a nanoscopically thin precursor solvent film behind the macroscopic contact line. We find that well-developed isotropic fingering structures only form for a narrow range of experimental parameters. Numerical simulations, based on a modification of the Monte Carlo approach introduced by Rabani et al. [Nature (London) 426, 271 (2003)10.1038/nature02087], reproduce the patterns we observe experimentally.

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