J. Phys. I France
Volume 2, Numéro 9, September 1992
Page(s) 1755 - 1764
DOI: 10.1051/jp1:1992242
J. Phys. I France 2 (1992) 1755-1764

Capillary waves and ellipsometry experiments

D. Bonn and G. H. Wegdam

Laboratory for Physical Chemistry, University of Amsterdam, Nieuwe Achtergracht 127, 1018 WS Amsterdam, The Netherlands

(Received 4 December 1991, revised 2 May 1992, accepted 2 June 1992)

The inclusion of higher-order terms in the capillary-wave Hamiltonian may reduce the contributions of these fluctuations to the ellipsometric coefficients. We show that the renormalization of capillary waves at a fluid-fluid interface by Sengers and van Leeuwen [Phys. Rev. A 39 (1989) 6346] using the wave vector-dependent surface tension that follows from the coupled mode theory by Meunier [Phys. France 48 (1987)1819] yields a satisfactory agreement with recent ellipsometry measurements by Schmidt [Phys. Rev. A 38 (1988) 567]. The interface is viewed upon as an intrinsic interface broadened by capillary waves. We suppose that the cutoff wave vector $q_{\max}$ that follows from mode-coupling theory marks the transition from the short-wavelength bulk-like fluctuations that contribute to the bare surface tension to the long-wavelength capillary wave-like fluctuations that contribute to the full surface tension. This enables us to calculate, without any adjustable parameters, both the ratio of the bare and experimental surface tension and the universal constant for the elliptical thickness of the interface. Both agree remarkably well with experimental values.

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