Nonequilibrium Structures in Condensed Systems

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Science  14 Jun 1996:
Vol. 272, Issue 5268, pp. 1596-1597
DOI: 10.1126/science.272.5268.1596


When the temperature of a substance in thermal equilibrium is lowered, it often becomes more ordered. When externally excited, such systems can exhibit new structures that are not in equilibrium. Mikhailov and Ertl describe in their Perspective such structures that have recently been observed in films of ordered molecules (called Langmuir-Blodgett films) by a group at the Electrotechnical Laboratory in Tsukuba, Japan. The results show important connections with similar behavior in reacting chemical systems.