Fabrication and 3D tomographic characterization of nanowire arrays and meshes with tunable dimensions from shear-aligned block copolymers†
We demonstrate a scalable method to create metallic nanowire arrays and meshes over square-centimeter-areas with tunable sub-100 nm dimensions and geometries using the shear alignment of block copolymers. We use the block copolymer poly(styrene)-b-poly(2-vinyl pyridine) (PS–P2VP) since the P2VP block complexes with metal salts like Na2PtCl4, thereby enabling us to directly pattern nanoscale platinum features. We investigate what shear alignment processing parameters are necessary to attain high quality and well-ordered nanowire arrays and quantify how the block copolymer's molecular weight affects the resulting Pt nanowires’ dimensions and defect densities. Through systematic studies of processing parameters and scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM) tomography, we determine that the equivalent of 2–3 monolayers of PS–P2VP are required to produce a single layer of well-aligned nanowires. The resulting nanowires’ widths and heights can be tuned between 11–27 nm and 9–50 nm, respectively, and have periodicites varying between 37 and 63 nm, depending on the choice of block copolymer molecular weight. We observe that the height-to-width ratio of the nanowires also increases with molecular weight, reaching a value of almost 2 with the largest dimensions fabricated. Furthermore, we demonstrate that an additional layer of Pt nanowires can be orthogonally aligned on top of and without disturbing an underlying layer, thereby enabling the fabrication of Pt nanowire meshes with tunable sub-100 nm dimensions and geometries over a cm2-area.