Molecular tribometry of ultrathin liquid films

John Van Alsten, Steve Granick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We study the resistance to sliding of liquid films 1-6 molecules thick. The apparent dynamic viscosity at 1 Hz of nonpolar liquids confined between parallel plates of atomically smooth mica is considerably enhanced over that of the isotropic fluids and shows extreme dependence on pressure. Rapid, reversible switching between liquidlike and noncompliant responses as a function of small changes in normal pressure is also found, suggesting a phase transition to a solidlike structure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2570-2573
Number of pages4
JournalPhysical review letters
Issue number22
StatePublished - 1988
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy

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