Gerri Bernard, 1st Place - Optical and Scanning Electron Microscopy

This is an optical microscopy image (40x) of a thin (<1µm) silica film on a silicon substrate. The Film was formed via dip-coating into SiO2 derived from the sol-gel process. The substrate was dipped once at 2mm/s and then thermally shocked at 260ºC for 5 minutes, leading to crack formation. The drying of a thin, nano-porous silica film is highly dependant upon the evaporation rate of pore fluid. Exposure to high temperature causes a sudden increase in this evaporation rate, which in turn leads to stress that must be relieved through crack formation. The warping of the film, due to stress, causes interference fringes that can be seen in the photograph.
Gerri Bernard, 1st Place - Optical and Scanning Electron Microscopy
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