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26 March 2013 Defectivity study of directed self-assembly of cylindrical diblock copolymers in laterally confined thin channels
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We use self-consistent field theory (SCFT) to study the directed self-assembly of cylinder-forming diblock copolymers laterally confined in narrow channels. The side walls and top/bottom surfaces of the channel are either all major block attractive, all minor block attractive, or a combination of major block attractive on the top surface and minor block attractive on the remaining film surfaces. We focus on systems in which the self-assembled cylinders form a monolayer oriented parallel to the sidewalls in a thin channel. Experimentally and theoretically, well-ordered perfect cylinders are observed in narrow channels, but undesirable defective structures are also found. We investigate the energetics of isolated, meta-stable defects and compare them with two types of defects (dislocations and disclinations) recently investigated in laterally confined lamellar block copolymer systems using SCFT. Our simulation results are also compared with defect energy estimates for lying down cylinder monolayers extracted from experimental work by Mishra and coworkers. Parametric studies include the effects of film thickness, domain spacing, χN, and composition on defect energies with various wall wetting conditions in narrow channels of varying widths. A major finding is that defects of cylindrical directed self-assembly in a confined channel have a smaller free energy cost (tens of kT) in comparison with defects in laterally confined, vertically oriented lamellae (many tens of kT). We also discovered a novel vertically branched cylinder defect in the case of neutral top and bottom surfaces with significantly lower defect energy than a corresponding dislocation defect. More broadly, this study reveals unexpected dependences of equilibrium defect densities on a wide range of parameters that must be carefully controlled in order to successfully implement a directed self-assembly process with block-copolymers.
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Bongkeun Kim, Nabil Laachi, and Glenn H. Fredrickson "Defectivity study of directed self-assembly of cylindrical diblock copolymers in laterally confined thin channels", Proc. SPIE 8680, Alternative Lithographic Technologies V, 868016 (26 March 2013);

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