Understanding the surface process called wetting has become essential to the bottom-up assembly of atomically precise semiconductors as well as to the functioning of chips and boards. Now researchers at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology (Haifa, Israel) have modified a transmission electron microscope (TEM) to reveal new details about wetting. At the atomic level, wetting is the movement of atoms at the interface between a solid and a liquid. Understanding the phenomenon is key to understanding crystal growth on silicon wafers, for soldering chips to boards, brazing flip-chips and controlling liquid flow through microfluidic chips. The aluminum-sapphire interface has been extensively studied worldwide in an effort to understand the high-temperature wetting processes, but the Technion group has uncovered evidence to back a hitherto unproven theory that a transition region exists at the interface. In this transition region, the precise atomic structure of the solid causes the liquid atoms likewise to become highly organized, resulting in layers of crystalline-like metal adjacent to the sapphire.