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Issue 2, 2018
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Optimizing self-consistent field theory block copolymer models with X-ray metrology

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Abstract

A block copolymer self-consistent field theory (SCFT) model is used for direct analysis of experimental X-ray scattering data obtained from thin films of polystyrene-b-poly(methyl methacrylate) (PS-b-PMMA) made from directed self-assembly. In a departure from traditional approaches, which reconstruct the real space structure using simple geometric shapes, we build on recent work that has relied on physics-based models to determine shape profiles and extract thermodynamic processing information from the scattering data. More specifically, an SCFT model, coupled to a covariance matrix adaptation evolutionary strategy (CMAES), is used to find the set of simulation parameters for the model that best reproduces the scattering data. The SCFT model is detailed enough to capture the essential physics of the copolymer self-assembly, but sufficiently simple to rapidly produce structure profiles needed for interpreting the scattering data. The ability of the model to produce a matching scattering profile is assessed, and several improvements are proposed in order to more accurately recreate the experimental observations. The predicted parameters are compared to those extracted from model fits via additional experimental methods and with predicted parameters from direct particle-based simulations of the same model, which incorporate the effects of fluctuations. The Flory–Huggins interaction parameter for PS-b-PMMA is found to be in agreement with reported ranges for this material. These results serve to strengthen the case for relying on physics-based models for direct analysis of scattering and light signal based experiments.

Graphical abstract: Optimizing self-consistent field theory block copolymer models with X-ray metrology

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Publication details

The article was received on 07 Sep 2017, accepted on 26 Jan 2018 and first published on 31 Jan 2018


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C7ME00098G
Citation: Mol. Syst. Des. Eng., 2018,3, 376-389
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    Optimizing self-consistent field theory block copolymer models with X-ray metrology

    A. F. Hannon, D. F. Sunday, A. Bowen, G. Khaira, J. Ren, P. F. Nealey, J. J. de Pablo and R. J. Kline, Mol. Syst. Des. Eng., 2018, 3, 376
    DOI: 10.1039/C7ME00098G

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