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Thin Film Instability Induced by Long Range Forces

G. Reiter, A. Sharma, A. Casoli, M.O. David, R. Khanna, P. Auroy. Langmuir 15, 2551-2558 (1999)


Dispersion forces are present everywhere. Their importance, however, is largely neglected because directly at a surface or at an interface they are mostly weak compared with specific interaction of short range. Here, we show that these forces are nonetheless extremely relevant and may have drastic consequences on the stability of thin films. We demonstrate that a force (per unit area) of <1 Pa is capable of "destroying" 100 nm (!) thick films, even if they are "glued" to the substrate by end-grafted polymers. We present the temporal evolution of different morphologies of unstable thin liquid polymer films caused by destabilizing intermolecular forces.

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