Indexed on: 26 Jul '14Published on: 26 Jul '14Published in: Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics
The hydrophobic force describes the attraction between water-hating molecules (and surfaces) that draws them together, causing aggregation, phase separation, protein folding and many other inherent physical phenomena. Attempts have been made to isolate the range and magnitude of this interaction between extended surfaces for more than four decades, with wildly varying results. In this perspective, we critically analyse the application of common force-measuring techniques to the hydrophobic force conundrum. In doing so, we highlight possible interferences to these measurements and provide physical rationalisation where possible. By analysing the most recent measurements, new approaches to establishing the form of this force become apparent, and we suggest potential future directions to further refine our understanding of this vital, physical force.