Templating Three-Dimensional Self-Assembled Structures in Bilayer Block Copolymer Films

Science  08 Jun 2012:
Vol. 336, Issue 6086, pp. 1294-1298
DOI: 10.1126/science.1218437

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Block copolymers will spontaneously separate into a range of microstructures that depend on the polymer block lengths and chemical compositions, and have been used as a templating material because one can selectively etch or functionalize one of the blocks. However, creating a template that is more than one layer thick is challenging. Tavakkoli K. G. et al. (p. 1294) used an array of posts to provide independent and simultaneous control of the morphology and orientation of two layers of block copolymers and were able to create local variations in the curvature and spacing of the domains.


The registration and alignment of a monolayer of microdomains in a self-assembled block copolymer thin film can be controlled by chemical or physical templating methods. Although planar patterns are useful for nanoscale device fabrication, three-dimensional multilevel structures are required for some applications. We found that a bilayer film of a cylindrical-morphology block copolymer, templated by an array of posts functionalized with a brush attractive to the majority block, can form a rich variety of three-dimensional structures consisting of cylinder arrays with controllable angles, bends, and junctions whose geometry is controlled by the template periodicity and arrangement. This technique allows control of microdomain patterns and the ability to route and connect microdomains in specific directions.

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