Diffusional phase transformations in self-stressed solid films

Y. Zhen, P. H. Leo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Diffusional phase transformations in stressed solid films are simulated by using an analytical solution for the elastic fields together with a numerical solution for the composition evolution. Isotropic and anisotropic (cubic) films are considered, where the film is either free-standing or attached to a substrate. Stresses in the film arise owing to both compositional self-stress and, in the film-substrate case, misfit between the film and substrate. Stresses are found by using analytical elastic solutions we developed for both the two- and three-dimensional cases. Numerical simulations in both two- and three-dimensions are performed using a Cahn-Hilliard model for the composition evolution. Results show that elastic strength, epitaxial misfit, elastic anisotropy, external mechanical loading and film-substrate geometry affect both the kinetics of evolution and the long-time configurations of the evolution. In particular, we observe phenomena such as formation of columnar structures, switching of layers, and phase alignment in preferred directions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)223-234
Number of pages12
JournalThin Solid Films
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Aug 14 2006

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the Division of Materials Science at the Department of Energy through Grant DE-FG02-99ER45770. Y. Zhen is also grateful for helpful discussions with Shuwang Li.


  • Cahn-Hilliard model
  • Computer simulation
  • Elastic anisotropy
  • Epitaxial misfit


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