Oscillatory density profiles (layers) have previously been observed at the free surfaces of liquid metals but not in other isotropic liquids. We have used x-ray reflectivity to study a molecular liquid, tetrakis(2-ethylhexoxy)silane. When cooled to T/Tc ≈ 0.25 (well above the freezing point for this liquid), density oscillations appear at the surface. Lateral order within the layers is liquidlike. Our results confirm theoretical predictions that a surface-layered state will appear even in dielectric liquids at sufficiently low temperatures, if not preempted by freezing.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy(all)