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Dewetting of Thin Polymer Films

G. Reiter. Physical Review Letters 68, 75 (1992)


Thin polystyrene films (< 100 nm) on silicon substrates undergo dewetting when annealed above the glass transition temperature. Three different stages can be distinguished: The smooth films break up by the creation of cylindrical holes. The holes then grow and form rims ahead of them which finally contact each other creating "cellular" structures. The rims are unstable and decay into droplets. The influence of the film thickness on this process is investigated and compared to recent theoretical predictions of spinodal decomposition of partially wetting thin films.

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