How faceted liquid droplets grow tails

Shani Guttman, Zvi Sapir, Moty Schultz, Alexander V. Butenko, Benjamin M. Ocko, Moshe Deutsch, Eli Sloutskin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

81 Scopus citations


Liquid droplets, widely encountered in everyday life, have no flat facets. Here we show that water-dispersed oil droplets can be reversibly temperature-tuned to icosahedral and other faceted shapes, hitherto unreported for liquid droplets. These shape changes are shown to originate in the interplay between interfacial tension and the elasticity of the droplet's 2-nm-thick interfacial monolayer, which crystallizes at some T = Ts above the oil's melting point, with the droplet's bulk remaining liquid. Strikingly, at still-lower temperatures, this interfacial freezing (IF) effect also causes droplets to deform, split, and grow tails. Our findings provide deep insights into molecular-scale elasticity and allow formation of emulsions of tunable stability for directed self-assembly of complex-shaped particles and other future technologies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)493-496
Number of pages4
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number3
StatePublished - 19 Jan 2016


  • Emulsions
  • Membranes' buckling
  • Spontaneous emulsification
  • Topological defects
  • Two-dimensional crystals


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