Research News

Probing Interfaces Involving Liquids

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Science  10 Apr 1987:
Vol. 236, Issue 4798, pp. 150-151
DOI: 10.1126/science.236.4798.150


Last month in Washington, D.C., the National Academy of Sciences held the first of what it hopes will be a series of seminars in forefront fields of science, technology, and medicine. The idea is to bring the academy closer to the frontlines of research and to help spread the word to federal science policy-makers. The subject of the 23 and 24 March seminar was interfaces and thin films, and the talks, though tutorial in nature, contained a pleasantly large number of still unpublished results. Interfaces, such as the surface of a solid exposed to a liquid or gas, and thin films, whose properties are heavily influenced by interfaces, have long been of considerable technological importance and have always been so in biological processes, but researchers are now getting access to the experimental and theoretical tools needed to explore these complex physical systems that are neither ideally two-dimensional nor fully three-dimensional. The briefings that follow give a peek at three ways to probe interfaces involving liquids.