Mechanical & Materials Engineering, Department of


Date of this Version



Published in Journal of Physics D: Applied Physics 38 (2005), pp. 2848–2850; doi 10.1088/0022-3727/38/16/017 Copyright © 2005 Institute of Physics Publishing Ltd. Used by permission.


This paper considers the effect of surface charges on the surface instability of thin conductive liquid films. A characteristic relation is obtained for determining the wave number of the fastest growing mode as a function of surface tension, dispersive van der Waals force, and electrostatic tractions exerted by the film surface charges. Two natural length scales of the microsystem are further introduced to account for the coupling effects on the dewetting pattern development. The present results can be used for controlled surface pattern modulation in a spinodal-dewetting scenario via amplification of surface waves of selected modes.