Inserted: 23 jun 2023
Last Updated: 26 jun 2023
The morphology of crystalline thin films evolving on flat rigid substrates by condensation of extra film atoms or by evaporation of their own atoms in the surrounding vapor is studied in the framework of the theory of Stress Driven Rearrangement Instabilities (SDRI). By following the SDRI literature both the elastic contributions due to the mismatch between the film and the substrate lattices at their theoretical (free-standing) elastic equilibrium, and a curvature perturbative regularization preventing the problem to be ill-posed due to the otherwise exhibited backward parabolicity, are added in the evolution equation. The resulting Cauchy problem under investigation consists in an anisotropic mean-curvature type flow of the fourth order on the film profiles, which are assumed to be parametrizable as graphs of functions measuring the film thicknesses, coupled with a quasistatic elastic problem in the film bulks. Periodic boundary conditions are considered. The results are twofold: the existence of a regular solution for a finite period of time and the stability for all times, of both Lyapunov and asymptotic type, of any configuration given by a flat film profile and the related elastic equilibrium. Such achievements represent both the generalization to three dimensions of a previous result in two dimensions for a similar Cauchy problem, and the complement of the analysis previously carried out in the literature for the symmetric situation in which the film evolution is not influenced by the evaporation-condensation process here considered, but it is entirely due to the volume preserving surface-diffusion process, which is instead here neglected. The method is based on minimizing movements, which allow to exploit the the gradient-flow structure of the evolution equation.
Keywords: existence, regularity, minimizing movements, gradient-flow, Thin films, evaporation, condensation , 3 dimensions, mismatch strain, Lyapunov stability, asymptotic stability, curvature regularization