Micron-scale channel formation by the release and bond-back of pre-stressed thin films: A finite element analysis

R. K. Annabattula, W. T. S. Huck, P. R. Onck*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Buckling of thin films on a rigid substrate during use or fabrication is a well-known but unwanted phenomenon. However, this phenomenon can also be exploited to generate well-controlled patterns at the micro and nano-scale. These patterned surfaces find various technological applications such as optical gratings or micro/nano-fluidic channels. In this article, we present a numerical model that accounts for the buckling-up of pre-strained thin films by a reduction of the interface toughness and the subsequent bond-back. Channels are formed whose dimensions can be controlled by tuning the film dimensions, film thickness and stiffness, the eigenstrain in the film and the cohesive interface energy between the film and the substrate. We will show how the buckling-up and draping back processes can be captured in terms of a limited set of dimensionless parameters, providing quantitative insight on how these parameters should be tuned to generate a specified channel geometry. (C) 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)447-465
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of the Mechanics and Physics of Solids
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr-2010


  • Buckle-driven delamination
  • Release-and-bond-back
  • Thin films
  • Micro/nano-fluidic channels
  • Finite element analysis
  • BEAM

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