WIAS Preprint No. 2861, (2021)

On the spinodal dewetting of thin liquid bilayers


  • Shiri, Roghayeh
  • Schmeller, Leonie
    ORCID: 0000-0001-8144-6028
  • Seemann, Ralf
  • Peschka, Dirk
    ORCID: 0000-0002-3047-1140
  • Wagner, Barbara
    ORCID: 0000-0001-8306-3645

2020 Mathematics Subject Classification

  • 35R35 76A20 76E17

2010 Physics and Astronomy Classification Scheme

  • 68.05.Cf 68.37.Ps 68.03.Cd


  • Spinodal decomposition, thin-film, bilayer, white noise, coloured noise




We investigate the spinodal dewetting of a thin liquid polystyrene (PS) film on a liquid polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) subtrate. Following the evolution of the corrugations of the PS film via in situ measurements by atomic force microscopy (AFM) and those of the PS-PMMA interface via ex situ imaging, we provide a direct and detailed comparison of the experimentally determined spinodal wavelengths with the predictions from linear stability analysis of a thin-film continuum model for the bilayer system. The impact of rough interfaces and fluctuations is studied theoretically by investigating the impact of different choices of initial data on the unstable wavelength and on the rupture time. The key factor is the mode selection by initial data perturbed with correlated colored noise in the linearly unstable regime, which becomes relevant only for liquid bilayers to such an extent. By numerically solving the mathematical model, we further address the impact of nonlinear effects on rupture times and on the morphological evolution of the interfaces in comparison with experimental results.

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