Stress-Driven Surface Topography Evolution in Nanocrystalline Al Thin Films


  • This work was supported by an NSF NIRT Program (Grant No. DMR-0210215). We thank Prof. Chia-Ling Chien for generously allowing the use of the AFM facility and Dr. Budhika Mendis for valuable comments and discussion.


original image

Stress-assisted grain growth at room temperature is identified as a plastic deformation mechanism in nanocrystalline thin films. Unique surface relief is attributed to the direct application of stress-coupled grain boundary migration theory. The figure shows a false-color SEM image of surface topography and an AFM height profile as a result of stress-assisted grain growth. A strategy for tailoring the mechanical properties of nanostructured metals is shown.