Liquid eutectic Pt-Si droplets, migrating across a Si(100) surface due to an applied temperature gradient, interact measurably with surface steps. An analysis of the interaction yields a critical size of hundreds of nanometers below which droplets are constrained to move parallel to monolayer steps. Bunches of closely spaced steps are capable of guiding larger, micron-sized droplets. This steering by steps or step bunches may be used for the controlled manipulation of liquid droplets on patterned surfaces, and affects fundamental surface processes such as coarsening.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy(all)