Abstract:
We study the morphological evolution of strained heteroepitaxial films using kinetic Monte Carlo simulations in two dimensions. A novel Green's function approach, analogous to boundary integral methods, is used to calculate elastic energies efficiently. We observe island formation at low lattice misfit and high temperature that is consistent with the Asaro-Tiller-Grinfeld instability theory. At high misfit and low temperature, islands or pits form according to the nucleation theory of Tersoff and LeGoues.

Abstract:
A continuum model for growth of solids is developed, considering adatom deposition, surface diffusion, and configuration dependent incorporation rate. For amorphous solids it is related to surface energy densities. The high adatom density leads to growth enhanced dynamics of (a) Mullins' classical equation [J. Appl. Phys. {\bf 28}, 333 (1957)] without, and (b) of the Asaro-Tiller-Grinfeld-Srolovitz instability with lateral stress in the growing film. The latter mechanism is attributed to morphologies found in recent experiments.

Abstract:
At low strain, SiGe films on Si substrates undergo a continuous nucleationless morphological evolution known as the Asaro-Tiller-Grinfeld instability. We demonstrate experimentally that this instability develops on Si(001) but not on Si(111) even after long annealing. Using a continuum description of this instability, we determine the origin of this difference. When modeling surface diffusion in presence of wetting, elasticity and surface energy anisotropy, we find a retardation of the instability on Si(111) due to a strong dependence of the instability onset as function of the surface stiffness. This retardation is at the origin of the inhibition of the instability on experimental time scales even after long annealing.

Abstract:
We present a continuum theory to describe elastically induced phase transitions between coherent solid phases. In the limit of vanishing elastic constants in one of the phases, the model can be used to describe fracture on the basis of the late stage of the Asaro-Tiller-Grinfeld instability. Starting from a sharp interface formulation we derive the elastic equations and the dissipative interface kinetics. We develop a phase field model to simulate these processes numerically; in the sharp interface limit, it reproduces the desired equations of motion and boundary conditions. We perform large scale simulations of fracture processes to eliminate finite-size effects and compare the results to a recently developed sharp interface method. Details of the numerical simulations are explained, and the generalization to multiphase simulations is presented.

Abstract:
We study the roughness of stylolite surfaces (i.e. natural pressure-dissolution surfaces in sedimentary rocks) from profiler measurements at laboratory scales. The roughness is shown to be nicely described by a self-affine scaling invariance. At large scales, the roughness exponent is $\zeta_1 \approx 0.5$ and very different from that at small scales where $\zeta_2 \approx 1.1$. A cross-over length scale at around $\lambda_c =1$mm is well characterized and interpreted as a possible fossil stress measurement if related to the Asaro-Tiller-Grinfeld stress-induced instability. Measurements are consistent with a Langevin equation that describes the growth of stylolite surfaces in a quenched disordered material with long range elastic correlations.

Abstract:
We investigate the ability of frame-invariant amplitude equations [G. H. Gunaratne, Q. Ouyang, and H. Swinney, Phys. Rev. E {\bf 50}, 2802 (1994)] to describe quantitatively the evolution of polycrystalline microstructures and we extend this approach to include the interaction between composition and stress. Validations for elemental materials include studies of the Asaro-Tiller-Grinfeld morphological instability of a stressed crystal surface, polycrystalline growth from the melt, grain boundary energies over a wide range of misorientation, and grain boundary motion coupled to shear deformation. Amplitude equations with accelerated strain relaxation in the solid are shown to model accurately the Asaro-Tiller-Grinfeld instability. Polycrystalline growth is also well described. However, the survey of grain boundary energies shows that the approach is only valid for a restricted range of misorientations as a direct consequence of an amplitude expansion. This range covers approximately half the complete range allowed by crystal symmetry for some fixed reference set of density waves used in the expansion. Over this range, coupled motion to shear is well described by known geometrical rules and a transition from coupling to sliding motion is also reproduced. Amplitude equations for alloys are derived phenomenologically in a Ginzburg-Landau spirit. Vegard's law is shown to be naturally described by seeking a gauge invariant form of those equations under a transformation that corresponds to a lattice expansion and deviations from Vegard's law can be easily incorporated. Those equations realistically describe the dilute alloy limit and have the same flexibility as conventional phase-field models for incorporating arbitrary free-energy/composition curves...

Abstract:
We investigate two destabilization mechanisms for elastic polymer films and put them into a general framework: first, instabilities due to in-plane stress and second due to an externally applied electric field normal to the film's free surface. As shown recently, polymer films are often stressed due to out-of-equilibrium fabrication processes as e.g. spin coating. Via an Asaro-Tiller-Grinfeld mechanism as known from solids, the system can decrease its energy by undulating its surface by surface diffusion of polymers and thereby relaxing stresses. On the other hand, application of an electric field is widely used experimentally to structure thin films: when the electric Maxwell surface stress overcomes surface tension and elastic restoring forces, the system undulates with a wavelength determined by the film thickness. We develop a theory taking into account both mechanisms simultaneously and discuss their interplay and the effects of the boundary conditions both at the substrate and the free surface.

Abstract:
Relaxation volume tensors quantify the effect of stress on diffusion of crystal defects. Continuum linear elasticity predicts that calculations of these parameters using periodic boundary conditions do not suffer from systematic deviations due to elastic image effects and should be independent of supercell size or symmetry. In practice, however, calculations of formation volume tensors of the <110> interstitial in Stillinger-Weber silicon demonstrate that changes in bonding at the defect affect the elastic moduli and result in system-size dependent relaxation volumes. These vary with the inverse of the system size. Knowing the rate of convergence permits accurate estimates of these quantities from modestly sized calculations. Furthermore, within the continuum linear elasticity assumptions the average stress can be used to estimate the relaxation volume tensor from constant volume calculations.

Abstract:
Electron spin decoherence caused by elastic spin-phonon processes is investigated comprehensively in a zero-dimensional environment. Specifically, a theoretical treatment is developed for the processes associated with the fluctuations in the phonon potential as well as in the electron procession frequency through the spin-orbit and hyperfine interactions in the semiconductor quantum dots. The analysis identifies the conditions (magnetic field, temperature, etc.) in which the elastic spin-phonon processes can dominate over the inelastic counterparts with the electron spin-flip transitions. Particularly, the calculation results illustrate the potential significance of an elastic decoherence mechanism originating from the intervalley transitions in semiconductor quantum dots with multiple equivalent energy minima (e.g., the X valleys in SiGe). The role of lattice anharmonicity and phonon decay in spin relaxation is also examined along with that of the local effective field fluctuations caused by the stochastic electronic transitions between the orbital states. Numerical estimations are provided for typical GaAs and Si-based quantum dots.

Abstract:
We investigate numerically the relaxation dynamics of an elastic string in two-dimensional random media by thermal fluctuations starting from a flat configuration. Measuring spatial fluctuations of its mean position, we find that the correlation length grows in time asymptotically as $\xi \sim (\ln t)^{1/\tilde\chi}$. This implies that the relaxation dynamics is driven by thermal activations over random energy barriers which scale as $E_B(\ell) \sim \ell^{\tilde\chi}$ with a length scale $\ell$. Numerical data strongly suggest that the energy barrier exponent $\tilde{\chi}$ is identical to the energy fluctuation exponent $\chi=1/3$. We also find that there exists a long transient regime, where the correlation length follows a power-law dynamics as $\xi \sim t^{1/z}$ with a nonuniversal dynamic exponent $z$. The origin of the transient scaling behavior is discussed in the context of the relaxation dynamics on finite ramified clusters of disorder.