Journal of Materials Research

Articles

Pulsed laser dewetting of Au films: Experiments and modeling of nanoscale behavior

Sagar Yadavalia1, Mikhail Khennera2 and Ramki Kalyanaramana3 c1

a1 Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee 37996

a2 Department of Mathematics, Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green, Kentucky 42101

a3 Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee 37996; Department of Material Science and Engineering, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee 37996; and Sustainable Energy Education and Research Center, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee 37996

Abstract

Ultrathin metal film dewetting continues to grow in interest as a simple means to make nanostructures with well-defined properties. Here, we explored the quantitative thickness-dependent dewetting behavior of Au films under nanosecond (ns) pulsed laser melting on glass substrates. The trend in particle spacing and diameter in the thickness range of 3–16 nm was consistent with predictions of the classical spinodal dewetting theory. The early stage dewetting morphology of Au changed from bicontinuous-type to hole-like at a thickness between 8.5 and 10 nm, and computational modeling of nonlinear dewetting dynamics also captured the bicontinuous morphology and its evolution quite well. The thermal gradient forces were found to be significantly weaker than dispersive forces in Au due to its large effective Hamaker coefficient. This also resulted in Au dewetting length scales being significantly smaller than those of other metals such as Ag and Co.

(Received November 26 2012)

(Accepted March 27 2013)

Correspondence

c1 Address all correspondence to this author. e-mail: ramki@utk.edu

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