Even simple fluids on simple substrates can exhibit very rich surface phase behaviour. To illustrate this, we consider fluid adsorption on a planar wall chemically patterned with a deep stripe of a different material. In this system, two phase transitions compete: unbending and pre-wetting. Using microscopic density-functional theory, we show that, for thin stripes, the lines of these two phase transitions may merge, leading to a new two-dimensional-like wetting transition occurring along the walls. The influence of intermolecular forces and interfacial fluctuations on this phase transition and at complete pre-wetting are considered in detail.
P Yatsyshin, A O Parry, C Rascón and S Kalliadasis, J. Phys.: Condens. Matter 29, 094001 (2017)