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Surface layering

Surface layering is a quasi-crystalline structure at the surfaces of otherwise disordered liquids, where atoms or molecules of even the simplest liquid are stratified into well-defined layers parallel to the surface. While in crystalline solids such atomic layers can extend periodically throughout the entire dimension of a crystal, surface layering decays rapidly away from the surface and is limited to just a few near-surface region layers. Another difference between surface layering and crystalline structure is that atoms or molecules of surface-layered liquids are not ordered in-plane, while in crystalline solids they are.[1]

Surface layering was predicted theoretically by Stuart Rice at the University of Chicago in 1983 [2] and has been experimentally discovered by Peter Pershan (Harvard) and his group, working in collaboration with Ben Ocko (Brookhaven) and Moshe Deutsch (Bar-Ilan) in 1995 in elemental liquid mercury[3] and liquid gallium[4] using x-ray reflectivity techniques.

More recently layering has been shown to arise from electronic properties of metallic liquids, rather than thermodynamic variables such as surface tension, since surfaces of low-surface tension metallic liquids such as liquid potassium are layered[5], while those of dielectric liquids such as water, are not[6].


  1. ^ C. A. Croxton, Liquid State Physics (Cambridge Univ. Press, Cambridge, England, 1974)
  2. ^ M. P. D’Evelyn and S. A. Rice, J. Chem. Phys. 78, 5081 (1983)
  3. ^ O. M. Magnussen, B. M. Ocko, M. J. Regan, K. Penanen, P. S. Pershan and M. Deutsch, "X-ray reflectivity measurements of surface layering in liquid mercury", Phys. Rev. Lett. 74, 4444 (1995).
  4. ^ M.J. Regan, et al., "Surface layering in liquid gallium: x-ray reflectivity study", Phys. Rev. Lett. 75, 2498 (1995).
  5. ^ O. Shpyrko, P. Huber, A. Grigoriev, P. Pershan, B. Ocko, H. Tostmann, and M. Deutsch, Phys. Rev. B 67, 115405 (2003).
  6. ^ O. G. Shpyrko, M. Fukuto, P. S. Pershan, B. M. Ocko, T. Gog, I. Kuzmenko, “Suface Layering of Liquids: The Role of Surface Tension” Phys. Rev. B 2004, 69, 245423
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Surface_layering". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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