Optimization of long-range order in solvent vapor annealed poly(styrene)- block -poly(lactide) thin films for nanolithography

Andrew Baruth, Myungeun Seo, Chun Hao Lin, Kern Walster, Arjun Shankar, Marc A. Hillmyer, C. Leighton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

33 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Detailed experiments designed to optimize and understand the solvent vapor annealing of cylinder-forming poly(styrene)-block-poly(lactide) thin films for nanolithographic applications are reported. By combining climate-controlled solvent vapor annealing (including in situ probes of solvent concentration) with comparative small-angle X-ray scattering studies of solvent-swollen bulk polymers of identical composition, it is concluded that a narrow window of optimal solvent concentration occurs just on the ordered side of the order-disorder transition. In this window, the lateral correlation length of the hexagonally close-packed ordering, the defect density, and the cylinder orientation are simultaneously optimized, resulting in single-crystal-like ordering over 10 μm scales. The influences of polymer synthesis method, composition, molar mass, solvent vapor pressure, evaporation rate, and film thickness have all been assessed, confirming the generality of this behavior. Analogies to thermal annealing of elemental solids, in combination with an understanding of the effects of process parameters on annealing conditions, enable qualitative understanding of many of the key results and underscore the likely generality of the main conclusions. Pattern transfer via a Damascene-type approach verified the applicability for high-fidelity nanolithography, yielding large-area metal nanodot arrays with center-to-center spacing of 38 nm (diameter 19 nm). Finally, the predictive power of our findings was demonstrated by using small-angle X-ray scattering to predict optimal solvent annealing conditions for poly(styrene)-block-poly(lactide) films of low molar mass (18 kg mol-1). High-quality templates with cylinder center-to-center spacing of only 18 nm (diameter of 10 nm) were obtained. These comprehensive results have clear and important implications for optimization of pattern transfer templates and significantly advance the understanding of self-assembly in block copolymer thin films.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13770-13781
Number of pages12
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Volume6
Issue number16
DOIs
StatePublished - 2014

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Nanolithography
Styrene
Vapors
Thin films
Annealing
Molar mass
X ray scattering
Polymers
Order disorder transitions
Defect density
poly(lactide)
Chemical analysis
Vapor pressure
Crystal orientation
Self assembly
Block copolymers
Film thickness
Evaporation
Metals
Single crystals

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Materials Science(all)

Cite this

Optimization of long-range order in solvent vapor annealed poly(styrene)- block -poly(lactide) thin films for nanolithography. / Baruth, Andrew; Seo, Myungeun; Lin, Chun Hao; Walster, Kern; Shankar, Arjun; Hillmyer, Marc A.; Leighton, C.

In: ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces, Vol. 6, No. 16, 2014, p. 13770-13781.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Baruth, Andrew ; Seo, Myungeun ; Lin, Chun Hao ; Walster, Kern ; Shankar, Arjun ; Hillmyer, Marc A. ; Leighton, C. / Optimization of long-range order in solvent vapor annealed poly(styrene)- block -poly(lactide) thin films for nanolithography. In: ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces. 2014 ; Vol. 6, No. 16. pp. 13770-13781.
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