We study by nonlinear simulations the electric field induced pattern formation in a thin viscous film resting on a topographically or chemically patterned substrate. The thin film microstructures can be aligned to the substrate patterns within a window of parameters where the spinodal length scale of the field induced instability is close to the substrate periodicity. We investigate systematically the change in the film morphology and order when (i) the substrate pattern periodicity is varied at a constant film thickness and (ii) the film thickness is varied at a constant substrate periodicity. Simulations show two distinct pathway of evolution when the substrate-topography changes from protrusions to cavities. The isolated substrate defects generate locally ordered ripplelike structures distinct from the structures on a periodically patterned substrate. In the latter case, film morphology is governed by a competition between the pattern periodicity and the length scale of instability. Relating the thin film morphologies to the underlying substrate pattern has implications for field induced patterning and robustness of inter-interface pattern transfer, e.g., coding-decoding of information printed on a substrate.
Electric field induced microstructures in thin films on physicochemically heterogeneous and patterned substrates
Samanvaya Srivastava, P. Dinesh Sankar Reddy, Cindy Wang, Dipankar Bandyopadhyay, Ashutosh Sharma; Electric field induced microstructures in thin films on physicochemically heterogeneous and patterned substrates. J. Chem. Phys. 7 May 2010; 132 (17): 174703. https://doi.org/10.1063/1.3400653
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