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Journal Articles Physical Review E Year : 2016

Shape and coarsening dynamics of strained islands


We investigate the formation and the coarsening dynamics of islands in a strained epitaxial semiconductor film. These islands are commonly observed in thin films undergoing a morphological instability due to the presence of the elastocapillary effect. We first describe both analytically and numerically the formation of an equilibrium island using a two-dimensional continuous model. We have found that these equilibrium island-like solutions have a maximum height h0 and they sit on top of a flat wetting layer with a thickness hw. We then consider two islands, and we report that they undergo a noninterrupted coarsening that follows a two stage dynamics. The first stage may be depicted by a quasistatic dynamics, where the mass transfers are proportional to the chemical potential difference of the islands. It is associated with a time scale tc that is a function of the distance d between the islands and leads to the shrinkage of the smallest island. Once its height becomes smaller than a minimal equilibrium height h∗0, its mass spreads over the entire system. Our results pave the way for a future analysis of coarsening of an assembly of islands.

Dates and versions

hal-01420828 , version 1 (21-12-2016)



Guido Schifani, Thomas Frisch, Mederic Argentina, Jean-Noël Aqua. Shape and coarsening dynamics of strained islands. Physical Review E , 2016, 94 (4), pp.042808. ⟨10.1103/PhysRevE.94.042808⟩. ⟨hal-01420828⟩
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