Title

Directly Probing the Fracture Behavior of Ultrathin Polymeric Films

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

6-22-2021

School

Polymer Science and Engineering

Abstract

Understanding fracture mechanics of ultrathin polymeric films is crucial for modern technologies, including semiconductor and coating industries. However, up to now, the fracture behavior of sub-100 nm polymeric thin films is rarely explored due to challenges in handling samples and limited testing methods available. In this work, we report a new testing methodology that can not only visualize the evolution of the local stress distribution through wrinkling patterns and crack propagation during the deformation of ultrathin films but also directly measure their fracture energies. Using ultrathin polystyrene films as a model system, we both experimentally and computationally investigate the effect of the film thickness and molecular weight on their fracture behavior, both of which show a ductile-to-brittle transition. Furthermore, we demonstrate the broad applicability of this testing method in semicrystalline semiconducting polymers. We anticipate our methodology described here could provide new ways of studying the fracture behavior of ultrathin films under confinement.

Publication Title

ACS Polymers Au

Volume

1

Issue

1

First Page

16

Last Page

29

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