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Viscoelastic Thin Polymer Films under Transient Residual Stresses: Two-Stage Dewetting on Soft Substrates

S. Al Akhrass, G. Reiter, S.Y. Hou, M. H. Yang, Y. L. Chang, F. C. Chang, C. F. Wang, A. C.-M. Yang. Phys. Rev. Lett. 100, 178301 (2008)

Abstract

A nonmonotonic, two-stage dewetting behavior was observed for spin coated thin viscoelastic polymer films on soft elastic substrates. At times shorter than the relaxation time of the polymer (t <tau(rep)), dewetting generated deep trenches in the soft rubbery substrate which, in turn, almost stopped dewetting. At later stages (t >tau(rep)), dewetting accelerated, accompanied by an unstable rim. However, holes nucleated at t <tau(rep) showed only this second-stage behavior. Our observations are attributed to large elastic deformations in the substrate caused by transient residual stresses within the film.

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