Suppression of Rupture in Thin, Nonwetting Liquid Films

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Science  11 Feb 1994:
Vol. 263, Issue 5148, pp. 793-795
DOI: 10.1126/science.263.5148.793


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 togetherwithfree 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.