DOI: 10.1146/annurev-matsci-070511-155048 ISSN:

Solid-State Dewetting of Thin Films

Carl V. Thompson
  • General Materials Science

Solid films are usually metastable or unstable in the as-deposited state, and they will dewet or agglomerate to form islands when heated to sufficiently high temperatures. This process is driven by surface energy minimization and can occur via surface diffusion well below a film's melting temperature, especially when the film is very thin. Dewetting during processing of films for use in micro- and nanosystems is often undesirable, and means of avoiding dewetting are important in this context. However, dewetting can also be useful in making arrays of nanoscale particles for electronic and photonic devices and for catalyzing growth of nanotubes and nanowires. Templating of dewetting using patterned surface topography or prepatterning of films can be used to create ordered arrays of particles and complex patterns of partially dewetted structures. Studies of dewetting can also provide fundamental new insight into the effects of surface energy anisotropy and facets on shape evolution.

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