Anisotropic surface melting in lyotropic cubic crystals
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From experiments with metal crystals, in the vicinity of their crystal/liquid/vapor triple points, it is known that melting of crystals starts on their surfaces and is anisotropic. Recently, we have shown that anisotropic surface melting occurs also in lyotropic systems. In our previous paper (Eur. Phys. J. E 19, 223 (2006)), we have focused on the case of poor faceting at the Pn3m/L1 interface in C12EO2/water binary mixtures. There anisotropic melting occurs in the vicinity of a Pn3m/L3/L1 triple point. In the present paper, we focus on the opposite case of a rich devil's-staircase-type faceting at Ia3d/vapor interfaces in monoolein/water and phytantriol/water mixtures. We show that anisotropic surface melting takes place in these systems in a narrow humidity range close to the Ia3d-L2 transition. As whole (hkl) sets of facets disappear one after another when the transition is approached, surface melting occurs in a facet-by-facet type.
PACS.64.70.Md Transitions in liquid crystals 05.70.Np Interface and surface thermodynamics
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