Authors Zhao, B. ; Bonaccurso, E. ; Auernhammer, G. ; Chen, L.
Title Elasticity-to-capillarity transition in soft substrate deformation
Date 09.12.2021
Number 59936
Abstract Whereas capillarity controls fluid dynamics at submillimeter scale and elasticity determines the mechanics of rigid solids, their coupling governs elastocapillary deformations on soft solids. Here, we directly probed the deformations on soft substrates induced by sessile nanodroplets. The wetting ridge created around the contact line and the dimple formed underneath the nanodroplet were imaged with a high spatial resolution using atomic force microscopy. The ridge height nonmonotonically depends on the substrate stiffness, and the dimple depth nonlinearly depends on the droplet size. The capillarity of the substrate overcomes the elasticity of the substrate in dominating the deformations when the elastocapillary length is approximately larger than the droplet contact radius, showing an experimental observation of the elasticity-to-capillarity transition. This study provides an experimental approach to investigate nanoscale elastocapillarity, and the insights have the potential to kick-off future work on the fundamentals of solid mechanics.
Publisher Nano Letters
Citation Nano Letters 21 (2021) 10361-10367

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