Block Copolymer Self-assembly: From Process Optimization to Optical Properties

  • Author / Creator
    Ginige, Gayashani Kanchana
  • Molecular self-assembly is the basis of structure in Nature. While of far less complexity than a natural system, the same physical rules apply to simple synthetic designed systems that spontaneously form self-assembled structures and patterns. The self-assembly of block copolymers (BCPs) is an interesting example, as it can be harnessed to form both 2D (in thin films) and 3D (in bulk) porous and chemically controlled morphologies at scale. The self-assembly of BCPs on surfaces is of interest for a range of applications, but due to the enormous economic driver that is the computer industry, this direction has been pushed most strongly. Self-assembly of BCPs has been described in the International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors (the ITRS, and now the IDRS) for almost two decades for lithography on semiconductors and for patterning the magnetic material of hard drives. As a result, there has been much academic interest, both fundamental and applied, to meet the challenges as outlined in the ITRS/IDRS due to the promise of this scalable and low-cost nanopatterning approach. More recently, the remarkable work harnessing BCP self-assembly has been directed to other applications, one being optical metamaterials; this thesis will add to this growing body of science. One aspect holding BCP self-assembly back is the defectivity in the patterned material or surface; some applications are more defect tolerant than others, but hard drive and other computer-industry applications have very low tolerance for defects. It is, therefore, important to have systematic control over the self-assembly process as well as quality of the final patterns generated by BCP self-assembly for these applications and others not yet imagined. This thesis examines the defectivity of the hexagonal nanoscale patterns derived from BCP self-assembly and looks at extending them to produce nanoscale patterns of native and non-native morphologies that have plasmonic properties.
    This thesis is divided into two parts. The first part deals with optimization of solvent vapor annealing of BCP self-assembly, the critical step in which the actual nanoscale phase segregation takes place; in this case, it uses a controlled solvent vapor flow annealing apparatus, design of experiment and machine learning approaches. In this work, it was discovered that slight variations in the initial film thickness on the order of even a couple of nanometers and the final swelling degree have a huge influence on the defectivity and the quality of the resulting patterns. Next, machine learning approaches are applied to compile qualitative and quantitative defect analysis into a single figure of merit that is mapped across an experimental parameter space. This approach enables faster convergence of results to arrive at the optimum annealing conditions for the annealing of thin films of BCPs of PS-b-PDMS that generate nanoscale hexagonal patterns of silica dots with a minimum number of defects.
    In the second part of the thesis, mixed metal/oxide double layer patterning was studied using sequential self-assembly of BCPs. The second part of the thesis starts with optimization of reactive ion etching (RIE) for producing single layer metal nanopatterns from metal ion-loaded thin films of PS-b-P2VP BCPs to generate single layers of hexagonal metal nanopatterns that can withstand a second consecutive reactive ion etching step. The goal of this work is to enable density doubled and/or Moiré pattern formation via self-assembly of a second layer of BCP on the initial pattern prepared by self assembly of either the same or different BCP, as will be described in Chapter 4. Therefore, the initial pattern produced via BCP self-assembly and RIE etching would need to withstand a second treatment step of BCP self-assembly and RIE. While single layer nanopatterns of Au and Pt nanoparticles can be produced without much trouble, these resulting patterns could not be applied for density multiplication of metal–metal nanopatterns since the metal dots become too small and disordered. To demonstrate that metal nanoparticles derived from BCPs could be used, at least, to produce a mixed metal oxide/metal patterns, arrays of SiOx dots were first produced from PS-b-PDMS BCPs and then layered a BCP of PS-b-P2VP that was subsequently loaded with gold or platinum ions. Upon RIE etching, the BCP is removed and the SiOx/Au or Pt nanoparticle arrays were produced.
    Based upon the outcomes of the optimization of the etching work, mixed Au-Pt commensurate and incommensurate hexagonal lattice patterns were produced on both silicon and quartz substrates. Finally, the optical properties of these mixed metal Pt-Au bilayer patterns were studied. They demonstrated interesting plasmonic properties of the bilayer patterns, including consistent observation of extended plasmon bands that suggest coupling of the localized surface plasmon resonances (LSPRs) of the gold nanoparticles through proximal platinum nanoparticles when arrayed in periodic patterns.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Spring 2022
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.