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Mechanisms of Ordering in Striped Patterns

Science  24 Nov 2000:
Vol. 290, Issue 5496, pp. 1558-1560
DOI: 10.1126/science.290.5496.1558

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Abstract

We have studied the ordering dynamics of the striped patterns of a single layer of cylindrical block copolymer microdomains in a thin film. By tracking disclinations during annealing with time-lapse atomic force microscopy, we observe a dominant mechanism of disclination annihilation involving three or four disclinations (quadrupoles). Pairwise disclination annihilation events are suppressed as a result of the topological constraints in this system. The kinetic scaling laws with exponents observed here are consistent with topologically allowed annihilation events involving multiple disclinations. The results provide insight into two-dimensional pattern formation and may lead to the successful application of block copolymer lithography.

  • * Present address: ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Company, 1545 Route 22 East, Annandale, NJ 08801–0998, USA.

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