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Issue 21, 2021
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Photo-directing chemoepitaxy: the versatility of poly(aryl methacrylate) films in tuning block copolymer wetting

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Abstract

Photo-directed orientation control of block copolymer (BCP) domains is a powerful method for generating distinct regions of perpendicular and parallel-aligned lamella in a single film layer. In this study we demonstrate the versatility of aromatic methacrylate polymer films for tuning the wetting behaviour of PS-b-PMMA films on UV exposure. Poly(aryl methacrylate) films with excellent thermal and solvent stability were obtained by thermal crosslinking of spin-coated films. Upon exposure to UV light (254 nm), the surface polarity of the films changed as a result of the photo-Fries rearrangement of the aromatic ester groups. Following UV exposure to appropriate doses, the irradiated poly(aryl methacrylate) films can induce a change in the orientation of the domains of an overlayer of PS-b-PMMA from parallel to perpendicular lamellar structures. Patterning with a photomask enables generation of high fidelity BCP microdomain regions with targeted orientation. It is worth noting that the UV dose required to induce lamellar orientation in a wide range of BCP films can be tailored by rational selection of the poly(aryl methacrylate), suggesting outstanding flexibility in controlling BCP wetting behaviour. This simple, rapid, cost-effective and flexible approach to controlling BCP orientation makes poly(aryl methacrylate)s extremely promising for block copolymer self-assembly applications.

Graphical abstract: Photo-directing chemoepitaxy: the versatility of poly(aryl methacrylate) films in tuning block copolymer wetting

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Supplementary files

Article information


Submitted
13 Apr 2021
Accepted
07 May 2021
First published
08 May 2021

Polym. Chem., 2021,12, 3201-3209
Article type
Paper

Photo-directing chemoepitaxy: the versatility of poly(aryl methacrylate) films in tuning block copolymer wetting

J. Zhao, F. J. McCallum, Y. Yu, C. Fu, J. A. Kaitz, J. F. Cameron, P. Trefonas, I. Blakey, H. Peng and A. K. Whittaker, Polym. Chem., 2021, 12, 3201
DOI: 10.1039/D1PY00501D

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