Statistical Mechanics of Thin Films
This chapter develops the concepts of statistical mechanics as relevant to studies of thin films. Starting out from the classic Young-Dupré equation, the theory of wetting and dewetting transitions is developed on the basis of effective interface Hamiltonians. Illustrated by specific experimental case studies, the concepts of surface tension, line tension, and in particular the effective interface potential are introduced and explained. The generic wetting and dewetting equilibrium phase diagram is given and equilibria, metastable and unstable thin film states are discussed and their quantitative description derived.