Hierarchical nanopores formed by block copolymer lithography on the surfaces of different materials pre-patterned by nanosphere lithography†
Bottom-up patterning techniques allow for the creation of surfaces with ordered arrays of nanoscale features on large areas. Two bottom-up techniques suitable for the formation of regular nanopatterns on different length scales are nanosphere lithography (NSL) and block copolymer (BCP) lithography. In this paper it is shown that NSL and BCP lithography can be combined to easily design hierarchically nanopatterned surfaces of different materials. Nanosphere lithography is used for the pre-patterning of surfaces with antidots, i.e. hexagonally arranged cylindrical holes in thin films of Au, Pt and TiO2 on SiO2, providing a periodic chemical and topographical contrast on the surface suitable for templating in subsequent BCP lithography. PS-b-PMMA BCP is used in the second self-assembly step to form hexagonally arranged nanopores with sub-20 nm diameter within the antidots upon microphase separation. To achieve this the microphase separation of BCP on planar surfaces is studied, too, and it is demonstrated for the first time that vertical BCP nanopores can be formed on TiO2, Au and Pt films without using any neutralization layers. To explain this the influence of surface energy, polarity and roughness on the microphase separation is investigated and discussed along with the wetting state of BCP on NSL-pre-patterned surfaces. The presented novel route for the creation of advanced hierarchical nanopatterns is easily applicable on large-area surfaces of different materials. This flexibility makes it suitable for a broad range of applications, from the morphological design of biocompatible surfaces for life science to complex pre-patterns for nanoparticle placement in semiconductor technology.