Interface

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An interface is the region that separates two bulk phases. An interface is a molecular structure, given that one of its characteristic lengths is of molecular size. The cost in terms of the Helmholtz energy to create such a structure is known as the the surface tension. The simplest, most studied, and perhaps most important interface is the fluid/fluid interface: the liquid/vapour interface of a one-component system.

Interfaces are subject to thermal noise, which leads to thermal capillary waves. See also diffusion at interfaces.

References

  1. R. Evans "The nature of the liquid-vapour interface and other topics in the statistical mechanics of non-uniform, classical fluids", Advances in Physics 28 pp. 143-200 (1979)