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Phys Rev Lett. 2010 Sep 3;105(10):106101. Epub 2010 Aug 30.

Dynamic solidification in nanoconfined water films.

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Department of Physics and Astronomy, Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan 48201, USA.


Mechanical properties of nanoconfined water layers are still poorly understood and continue to create controversy, despite their importance for biology and nanotechnology. We report on dynamic nanomechanical measurements of water films compressed to a few single molecular layers. We show that the mechanical properties of nanoconfined water layers change significantly with their dynamic state. In particular, we observed a sharp transition from viscous to elastic response even at extremely slow compression rates, indicating that mechanical relaxation times increase dramatically once water is compressed to less than 3-4 molecular layers.

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