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Transition Mechanisms and Phases of Hexane Physisorbed on Graphite

C.L. Pint, M.W. Roth and C. Wexler
University of Northern Iowa, US

Keywords:
adsorption, n-alkanes

Abstract:
We study the transition mechanisms in submonolayer, monolayer, and supermonolayer hexane adsorbed onto graphite, and find that the driving mechanism for the nematic (liquid crystal) phase observed is out-of-plane tilting caused by molecular in-plane rolling, and that the mechanism for the nematic-to-fluid phase transition is a combition of primarily a ''tilt-lock'' mechanism accompanied by a small amount of intramolecular gauche defects. We find that in-plane room for this system is paramount to understanding these phases, and believe that our understanding of the effects of in-plane room can be applied to other nanoscale systems.

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