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J Phys Condens Matter. 2011 May 11;23(18):184102. doi: 10.1088/0953-8984/23/18/184102. Epub 2011 Apr 20.

Nanoscale discontinuities at the boundary of flowing liquids: a look into structure.

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Department of Physics and Astronomy, Uppsala University, Uppsala 75121, Sweden.


When downsizing technology, confinement and interface effects become enormously important. Shear imposes additional anisotropy on a liquid. This may induce inhomogeneities, which may have their origin close to the solid interface. For advancing the understanding of flow, information on structures on all length scales and in particular close to the solid interface is indispensable. Neutron scattering offers an excellent tool to contribute in this context. In this work, surface sensitive scattering techniques were used to resolve the structure of liquids under flow in the vicinity of a solid interface. Our results are summarized as follows. First, for a Newtonian liquid we report a depletion distance on the order of nanometers which is far too small to explain the amount of surface slip, on the order of micrometers, found by complementary techniques. Second, for a grafted polymer brush we find no entanglement-disentanglement transition under shear but the grafted film gets ripped off the surface. Third, by evaluating the local structure factor of a micellar solution close to the solid interface it turns out that the degree of order and local relaxation depends critically on the surface energy of the solid surface.

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