Surface freezing in binary alkane-alcohol mixtures

E. Ofer, E. Sloutskin, L. Tamam, B. M. Ocko, M. Deutsch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Surface freezing was detected and studied in mixtures of alcohol and alkane molecules, using surface tensiometry and surface-specific x-ray scattering methods. Considering that surface freezing in pure alkanes forms an ordered monolayer and in alcohols it forms an ordered bilayer, the length mismatch repulsion was minimized by varying the carbon number of the alkane component around 2n, where n is the carbon number of the alcohol molecule. A solutionlike behavior was found for all mixtures, where the ideal liquid mixture phase-separates upon freezing both in the bulk and the surface. The solid exhibits a herringbone crystalline phase below an alkane mole fraction t ≈0.8 and a rotator phase above it. The surface frozen film below t is an alkane monolayer exhibiting a next-nearest neighbor molecular tilt of a composition-dependent magnitude. Above t, no diffraction peaks were observed. This could be explained by the intrinsically shorter-range order of the rotator phase and a possible proliferation of defects.

Original languageEnglish
Article number021602
JournalPhysical Review E
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2006


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