"(...) researchers at Yale University and at consumer products manufacturer Unilever have experimentally and theoretically resolved the out-of-plane contributions. Using a confocal fluorescence microscope, the researchers, led by Yale’sEric Dufresne, laced a 20-micron-thick film of silicone gel with fluorescent beads and measured the deformation due to a water droplet. At equilibrium, a one-micron-high ridge, illustrated in the inset, formed in the gel at the contact line. When the researchers factored the gel’s surface tension and thickness into a linear elastic model, they arrived at a nonsingular theoretical solution for stress that closely fit their experimental data. Their model, however, underestimates the deformations in the solid-liquid contact plane, which they believe are caused by pinning or viscous drag. (E. Jerison et al., Phys. Rev. Lett., in press.)—Jermey N. A. Matthews"