Local Control of Microdomain Orientation in Diblock Copolymer Thin Films with Electric Fields

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Science  16 Aug 1996:
Vol. 273, Issue 5277, pp. 931-933
DOI: 10.1126/science.273.5277.931


Local control of the domain orientation in diblock copolymer thin films can be obtained by the application of electric fields on micrometer-length scales. Thin films of an asymmetric polystyrene-polymethylmethacrylate diblock copolymer, with cylindrical polymethylmethacrylate microdomains, were spin-coated onto substrates previously patterned with planar electrodes. The substrates, 100-nanometer-thick silicon nitride membranes, allow direct observation of the electrodes and the copolymer domain structure by transmission electron microscopy. The cylinders aligned parallel to the electric field lines for fields exceeding 30 kilovolts per centimeter, after annealing at 250°C in an inert atmosphere for 24 hours. This technique could find application in nanostructure fabrication.