HKUST Library Institutional Repository Banner

HKUST Institutional Repository >
Physics >
PHYS Conference Papers >

Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Title: Distinguishing spinodal and nucleation phase separation in dewetting polymer films
Authors: Tsui, Ophelia K. C.
Du, B.
Xie, F.
Wang, Y. J.
Yan, H.
Yang, Zhi-Yu
Keywords: Thin films
Spinodal mechanism
Heterogeneous nucleation
Polymer films
Issue Date: 2001
Citation: Nano Science and Technology : Novel Structures and Phenomena, 2nd Croucher ASI on Nano Science and Technology, HKUST, Hong Kong. Taylor and Francis, 2003. p. 187-192
Abstract: It is a common experience that liquid films on non-wetting surfaces may dewet and break up into liquid droplets. Despite of its ordinariness, the physics of this phenomenon is not fully understood. Specifically, it cannot be resolved whether these thin films rupture by a spinodal mechanism or heterogeneous nucleation. In this paper, we report a simple experiment by which we resolved this controversy unambiguously. In our approach, small height fluctuations were artifically introduced to the thin film samples by mechanically rubbing the film surface with a velvet cloth before dewetting takes place. Since the characteristic length of the dewettng pattern of polymer films that dewet by nucleation should depend on the density of surface defects introduced, but that of the films dewetting by a spinodal process should be relatively unaffected, one should be able to unambiguously identify which of the two dewetting mechanisms have in fact dominated in the rupturing of a given film simply by comparing its dewetting morphologies with and without the rubbing-induced defects.
Appears in Collections:PHYS Conference Papers
INST Conference Papers

Files in This Item:

File Description SizeFormat
NanoSci04.pdf613KbAdobe PDFView/Open

All items in this Repository are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved.