Morphological Instabilities in Thin Films: Evolution Maps


We consider morphological instabilities in binary multilayers and the post-instability evolution of the system. The alloys with and without intermediate phase are considered, as well as the cases with stable and meta-stable intermediate phase. Using the Galerkin finite element formulation for coupled Cahn-Hilliard - elasticity problem, maps of different evolution paths are developed in the parameter space of relative thicknesses of initial phases. We consider the relative importance of elastic and chemical energy of the system and develop maps for different cases. The systems exhibit rich evolution behavior. Depending on the initial configuration (which determines the mass conservation condition), the final equilibrium varies, but even greater variety is observed in evolution paths. The paths may consist of multiple evolution steps, which may proceed at different rates. Except for few special circumstances, the instabilities are to perturbations non-homogeneous in the film plane. Post-instability evolution is essentially two-dimensional, and cannot be reduced to the one-dimensional model.


Materials Science and Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Chemical energy; Elasticity problems; Evolution behavior; Evolution paths; Film planes; Galerkin finite elements; Initial configuration; Initial phasis; Instability; Intermediate phase; Mass conservation condition; Meta-stable; Morphological instability; Multilayer thin films; Non-homogeneous; One-dimensional model; Parameter spaces; Phase-field models; Relative importance; Elasticity; Film preparation; Multilayer films; Stability; Multilayers

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Document Type

Article - Journal

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© 2011 Elsevier, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Feb 2011