Morphological instability of a planar surface ([111], [011], or [001]) of an ultra-thin metal film is studied in a parameter space formed by three major effects (the quantum size effect, the surface energy anisotropy and the surface stress) that influence a film dewetting. The analysis is based on the extended Mullins equation, where the effects are cast as functions of the film thickness. The formulation of the quantum size effect (Z. Zhang et al., PRL 80, 5381 (1998)) includes the oscillation of the surface energy with thickness caused by electrons confinement. By systematically comparing the effects, their contributions into the overall stability (or instability) is highlighted.


Engineering Physics | Metallurgy | Nanoscience and Nanotechnology | Non-linear Dynamics | Partial Differential Equations | Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics