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Epitaxy in simple classical fluids in micropores and near-solid surfaces


The behaviour of fluids near solid-fluid interfaces is important in a number of fields1–4 and is receiving renewed attention5. Previous computational studies6–11 of the prototype split-pore—an atomic fluid contained between two infinite, plane-parallel solid surfaces (walls)—demonstrate that the fluid piles up in layers parallel to the walls. Yet none of these investigations finds long-range order within the fluid layers in directions parallel to the walls. In contrast, our Monte Carlo study of the prototype with structured walls reveals that at critical inter-wall separations the fluid layers take on solid-like order, that is, the fluid 'freezes' to a solid reflecting the structure of the wall. This epitaxy decreases with increasing inter-wall separation, but persists indefinitely in the contact layer. Such epitaxy may occur at aqueous-solid interfaces in geological1,2,4 and biological2,3 systems.

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Rhykerd, C., Schoen, M., Diestler, D. et al. Epitaxy in simple classical fluids in micropores and near-solid surfaces. Nature 330, 461–463 (1987).

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