Liquids at interfaces: What can a theorist contribute?

Robert Evans*, A. O. Parry

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

53 Citations (Scopus)


Reviews some recent theoretical and computer simulation studies of simple atomic fluids adsorbed at structureless substrates. Emphasis is placed on phase transitions, especially the various types of wetting transition. Criticality is associated with capillary-wave-like fluctuations in a continuously growing wetting film. This is of a subtle nature, which is best understood in terms of the pairwise correlation function of the fluid. Other surface phase transitions, such as prewetting and layering, occur out of bulk coexistence. Theory suggests that for sufficiently attractive substrates a sequence of first-order transitions, corresponding to the growth of new adsorbed liquid layers, should occur as the pressure of the bulk gas increases towards saturation at temperatures not too far above the bulk triple point. The extent to which such behaviour is found in adsorption experiments is discussed. The authors also argue that a simple fluid confined between two parallel hard-walls can exhibit surprisingly rich equilibria.

Original languageEnglish
Article number003
JournalJournal of Physics Condensed Matter
Publication statusPublished - 1990


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