Formation and prevention of fractures in sol-gel-derived thin films

Emiel Kappert, Denys Pavlenko, J. Malzbender, Arian Nijmeijer, Nieck Edwin Benes, Peichun Amy Tsai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Sol–gel-derived thin films play an important role as the functional coatings for various applications that require crack-free films to fully function. However, the fast drying process of a standard sol–gel coating often induces mechanical stresses, which may fracture the thin films. An experimental study on the crack formation in sol–gel-derived silica and organosilica ultrathin (submicron) films is presented. The relationships among the crack density, inter-crack spacing, and film thickness were investigated by combining direct micrograph analysis with spectroscopic ellipsometry. It is found that silica thin films are more prone to fracturing than organosilica films and have a critical film thickness of 300 nm, above which the film fractures. In contrast, the organosilica films can be formed without cracks in the experimentally explored regime of film thickness up to at least 1250 nm. These results confirm that ultrathin organosilica coatings are a robust silica substitute for a wide range of applications.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)882-888
JournalSoft matter
Volume11
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Fingerprint

Sol-gels
Silicon Dioxide
gels
Cracks
Film thickness
Thin films
cracks
thin films
film thickness
Coatings
silicon dioxide
coatings
Spectroscopic ellipsometry
Ultrathin films
Crack initiation
crack initiation
fracturing
Drying
drying
ellipsometry

Keywords

  • METIS-309141
  • IR-94192

Cite this

Kappert, Emiel ; Pavlenko, Denys ; Malzbender, J. ; Nijmeijer, Arian ; Benes, Nieck Edwin ; Tsai, Peichun Amy. / Formation and prevention of fractures in sol-gel-derived thin films. In: Soft matter. 2015 ; Vol. 11, No. 5. pp. 882-888.
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Formation and prevention of fractures in sol-gel-derived thin films. / Kappert, Emiel; Pavlenko, Denys; Malzbender, J.; Nijmeijer, Arian; Benes, Nieck Edwin; Tsai, Peichun Amy.

In: Soft matter, Vol. 11, No. 5, 2015, p. 882-888.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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T1 - Formation and prevention of fractures in sol-gel-derived thin films

AU - Kappert, Emiel

AU - Pavlenko, Denys

AU - Malzbender, J.

AU - Nijmeijer, Arian

AU - Benes, Nieck Edwin

AU - Tsai, Peichun Amy

PY - 2015

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AB - Sol–gel-derived thin films play an important role as the functional coatings for various applications that require crack-free films to fully function. However, the fast drying process of a standard sol–gel coating often induces mechanical stresses, which may fracture the thin films. An experimental study on the crack formation in sol–gel-derived silica and organosilica ultrathin (submicron) films is presented. The relationships among the crack density, inter-crack spacing, and film thickness were investigated by combining direct micrograph analysis with spectroscopic ellipsometry. It is found that silica thin films are more prone to fracturing than organosilica films and have a critical film thickness of 300 nm, above which the film fractures. In contrast, the organosilica films can be formed without cracks in the experimentally explored regime of film thickness up to at least 1250 nm. These results confirm that ultrathin organosilica coatings are a robust silica substitute for a wide range of applications.

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