Electric-Field-Controlled Surface Instabilities in Soft Elastic Films


  • A. S. and V. B. S. acknowledge the support of DST, India, Nanoscience and Technology Program.


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The surfaces of soft elastic films spontaneously form patterns. Application of an electric field above a critical value (φcric) to these patterns produces adhesive zones with distinct morphologies, such as pillars, large-amplitude fingers, or complete intimate contact (see Figure). These morphology changes, governed by film parameters such as stiffness and thickness, are explained by the physics of electrostatic-field-induced contact instabilities.