Surface structure tuning in alcohol melts by bulk additives

O. Gang, B. M. Ocko, X. Z. Wu, E. B. Sirota, M. Deutsch

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Surface freezing, i.e. the formation of a solid bilayer at the surface of a pure alcohol melt above the freezing temperature, was recently discovered. We demonstrate here that the structure of the bilayer can be influenced by specific bulk additives. Two different additives, able to form hydrogen bonds (water) and both hydrogen bonds and van der Waals interactions (α,ω-diols), are used. The surface layer's structure is studied by surface-specific X-ray methods. We find that water swells the bilayer by intercalation into its center at a molecular water:alcohol ratio of approx. 1:2. For the diolated alcohols a reversible monolayer-bilayer surface phase transition is observed, the first of its kind for surface-frozen layers. A continuous decrease of the molecular tilt with increasing diol concentration is also found for the tilted bilayer phases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55-61
Number of pages7
JournalColloids and Surfaces A: Physicochemical and Engineering Aspects
Issue number1
StatePublished - 30 Apr 2000
EventThe 15th European Chemistry at Interfaces Conference - Jerusalem, Isr
Duration: 18 Oct 199822 Oct 1998

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The financial support of the work at Bar-Ilan University by Exxon Research and Engineering Co. is gratefully acknowledged, as is the beamtime allocation at beamline X22B, NSLS, BNL. Brookhaven National Laboratory is supported by the division of Materials Research, DOE, under contract DEAC02-98CH10886.


  • Bulk additives
  • Monolayer-bilayer surface phase transition
  • Pure alcohol melts
  • Surface freezing


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