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Interfacially adsorbed bubbles determine the shape of droplets

Alessio Squarcini, Antonio Tinti

SciPost Phys. 15, 164 (2023) · published 16 October 2023


The characterization of density correlations in the presence of strongly fluctuating interfaces has always been considered a difficult problem in statistical mechanics. Here we study - by using recently developed exact field-theoretical techniques - density correlations for an interface with endpoints on a wall forming a droplet in 2D. Our framework applies to interfaces entropically repelled by a hard wall as well as to wetting transitions. In the former case bubbles adsorbed on the interface are taken into account by the theory which yields a systematic treatment of finite-size corrections to one- and two-point functions and show how these are related to Brownian excursions. Our analytical predictions are confirmed by Monte Carlo simulations without free parameters. We also determine one- and two-point functions at wetting by using integrable boundary field theory. We show that correlations are long ranged for entropic repulsion and at wetting. For both regimes we investigate correlations in momentum space by generalizing the notion of interface structure factor to semi-confined systems. Distinctive signatures of the two regimes manifest in the structure factor through a term that we identify on top of the capillary-wave one.

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