Computer simulation of spinodal decomposition in constrained films

D. J. Seol, S. Y. Hu, Y. L. Li, J. Shen, K. H. Oh, L. Q. Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

106 Scopus citations


The morphological evolution during spinodal decomposition of a binary alloy thin film elastically constrained by a substrate is studied. Elastic solutions, derived for elastically anisotropic thin films subject to the mixed stress-free and constraint boundary conditions, are employed in a three-dimensional phase-field model. The Cahn-Hilliard diffusion equation for a thin film boundary condition is solved using a semi-implicit Fourier-spectral method. The effect of composition, coherency strain, film thickness and substrate constraint on the microstructure evolution was studied. Numerical simulations show that in the absence of coherency strain and substrate constraint, the morphology of decomposed phases depends on the film thickness and the composition. For a certain range of compositions, phase separation with coherency strain in an elastically anisotropic film shows the behavior of surface-directed spinodal decomposition driven by the elastic energy effect. Similar to bulk systems, the negative elastic anisotropy in the cubic alloy results in the alignment of phases along 〈1 0 0〉 elastically soft directions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5173-5185
Number of pages13
JournalActa Materialia
Issue number17
StatePublished - Oct 6 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Metals and Alloys


Dive into the research topics of 'Computer simulation of spinodal decomposition in constrained films'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this