AbstractLiquid droplets, widely encountered in everyday life, have no flat facets. Here we show that water-dispersed oil droplets can be reversibly temperature-tuned to icosahedral and other faceted shapes, hitherto unreported for liquid droplets. These shape changes are shown to originate in the interplay between interfacial tension and the elasticity of the droplet's 2-nm-thick interfacial monolayer, which crystallizes at some T = Ts above the oil's melting point, with the droplet's bulk remaining liquid. Strikingly, at still-lower temperatures, this interfacial freezing (IF) effect also causes droplets to deform, split, and grow tails. Our findings provide deep insights into molecular-scale elasticity and allow formation of emulsions of tunable stability for directed self-assembly of complex-shaped particles and other future technologies.
PNAS 113 pages 493-496 (2016)
Shani Guttman, Zvi Sapir, Moty Schultz, Alexander V. Butenko, Benjamin M. Ocko, Moshe Deutsch, Eli Sloutskin