Hydrophobicity at a Janus Interface

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Science  25 Jan 2002:
Vol. 295, Issue 5555, pp. 663-666
DOI: 10.1126/science.1066141

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Water confined between adjoining hydrophobic and hydrophilic surfaces (a Janus interface) is found to form stable films of nanometer thickness whose responses to shear deformations are extraordinarily noisy. The power spectrum of this noise is quantified. In addition, the frequency dependence of the complex shear modulus is a power law with slope one-half, indicating a distribution of relaxation processes rather than any dominant one. The physical picture emerges that whereas surface energetics encourage water to dewet the hydrophobic side of the interface, the hydrophilic side constrains water to be present, resulting in a flickering, fluctuating complex.

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