Double-Layer Morphologies from a Silicon-Containing ABA Triblock Copolymer


Lee, S.; Cheng, L.-C.; Gadelrab, K.R.; Ntetsikas, K.; Moschovas, D.; Yager, K.G.; Avgeropoulos, A.; Alexander-Katz, A.; Ross, C.A. "Double-Layer Morphologies from a Silicon-Containing ABA Triblock Copolymer" ACS Nano 2018, 12 6193–6202.
doi: 10.1021/acsnano.8b02851


We study the self-assembly of a Si-containing triblock copolymer using GISAXS measurements and SCFT simulations.


A combined experimental and self-consistent-field theoretical (SCFT) investigation of the phase behavior of poly(stryrene-b-dimethylsiloxane-b-styrene) (PS-b-PDMS-b-PS, or SDS32) thin films during solvent vapor annealing is presented. The morphology of the triblock copolymer is described as a function of the as-cast film thickness and the ratio of two different solvent vapors, toluene and heptane. SDS32 formed terraced bilayer morphologies even when the film thickness was much lower than the commensurate thickness. The morphology transitioned between bilayer cylinders, bilayer perforated lamellae, and bilayer lamellae, including mixed structures such as a perforated lamella on top of a layer of in-plane cylinders, as the heptane fraction during solvent annealing increased. SCFT modeling showed the same morphological trends as a function of the block volume fraction. In comparison with diblock PS-b-PDMS with the same molecular weight, the SDS32 offers a simple route to produce a diversity of well-ordered bilayer structures with smaller feature sizes, including the formation of bilayer perforated lamellae over a large process window.