Surface crystallization and thin film melting in normal alkanes

X. Z. Wu, H. H. Shao, B. M. Ocko, M. Deutsch, S. K. Sinha, M. W. Kim, H. E. King, E. B. Sirota

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Normal alkanes of carbon number n>14 exhibit surface crystallization at their liquid-vapor interface. This has been investigated with x-ray reflectivity, grazing incidence scattering and surface tension measurements. The structure and thermodynamics of the surface layer is consistent with a monolayer of the bulk rotator phase occurring at the surface above the bulk melting temperature. On the other hand, thin films of alkanes on SiO2, exhibit a reduction of the melting temperature. The surface crystalline phase is observed for carbon number n>14. The vanishing of surface phase for small n may be due to a transition from surface freezing to surface melting behavior. These measurements can yield the relative surface energies of the various phases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15-26
Number of pages12
JournalMaterials Research Society Symposium - Proceedings
StatePublished - 1995
Externally publishedYes
EventProceedings of the 1994 MRS Fall Meeting - Boston, MA, USA
Duration: 28 Nov 19941 Dec 1994


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