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Ten downward portions in the large oscillatory force–distance curve reported earlier are analyzed to understand a nanoscale water meniscus confined between a sharp probe and a flat substrate in air. The sigmoidal shape of each portion leads to the assumption that the meniscus is made up of n independent transitions of two states: one for a coil state and the other for a bridge state. The analysis reveals that each downward portion occurs due to a coil-to-bridge transition of n self-assembled water chains whose length ranges between 197 and 383 chain units. The transition provides novel insights into water’s unique properties like high surface tension and the long-range condensation distances.

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This is an open access article published under an ACS AuthorChoice License, which permits copying and redistribution of the article or any adaptations for non-commercial purposes. This document was originally published in Langmuir by American Chemical Society. Copyright restrictions may apply.

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