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Czech. J. Physics (1996) 46(S1) 457-458.
Surface Oxide Layers and the Wetting Temperature of Alkali-Metals
Department of Physics, University of Exeter, Exeter, EX4 4QL (UK).
(LT-21 Prague, 8-14 August 1996)
It is now well known that at low temperatures liquid helium does not wet unoxidised caesium and rubidium surfaces. Recent experiments on rubidium have shown the unexpected result that its wetting temperature is considerably increased by a small amount of oxidation and it was suggested that this corresponds to a decrease in the electronic work function. We propose an idealised model for the interaction of helium with the surface of an oxidised alkali metal and find that it predicts that such a surface could indeed have a higher wetting temperature than the pure metal.
Keywords: rubidium, liquid helium, wetting.