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Pinning of a Contact Line on Nanometric Steps during the Dewetting of a Terraced Substrate

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posted on 14.09.2005, 00:00 by Thierry Ondarçuhu, Agnès Piednoir
We study the dewetting of polystyrene films on an alumina surface. We show that the morphology of dewetting holes is drastically modified by the nanometric steps on the surface. Nevertheless, below a critical step height of the order of the polymer chain dimension, the contact line is not anymore sensitive to the defects. This method thus gives an estimation of the limit of validity of macroscopic descriptions of wetting when going down to molecular dimensions.