jump to navigation

Think small December 1, 2007

Posted by tomography in development, Off Topic, Tomography.
trackback

A remarkably simple experiment devised by scientists yields important information about the mechanical properties of thin films (nanoscopically thin layers of material that are deposited onto a metal, ceramic or semiconductor base)

starburstThe findings impact a broad range of scientific disciplines and applications, from cosmetics to coatings, to micro- and nanoelectronics, filters, very low loss high density optical films etc. Understanding the mechanical properties of thin films is essential to their performance and optimization.

Until now, determining the mechanical properties of these thin films was either an expensive and time-consuming endeavor, requiring powerful microscopes to view the films, or scientists examined composite structures and made uncertain assumptions. This new research will give scientists a simple way to access the material properties of most thin films. Low-power optical microscope is used to observe what happens when they place a tiny drop of water on thin film as it floats in a Petri dish of water. The capillary tension of the drop of water produces a starburst of wrinkles in the film. The number and length of the wrinkles are determined by the elasticity and thickness of the film.

In some of the materials studied, the wrinkles in the ultrathin polymer films vanished with time. This vanishing provides insight into the relaxation process of an ultrathin film by yielding information on the way polymer chains move in the highly confined geometry.

Source: NSF

Advertisements

Comments»

No comments yet — be the first.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: