Arbitrary lattice symmetries via block copolymer nanomeshes


Majewski, P.W.; Rahman, A.; Black, C.T.; Yager, K.G. "Arbitrary lattice symmetries via block copolymer nanomeshes" Nature Communications 2015, 6 7448.
doi: 10.1038/ncomms8448


Using a new photo-thermal method, we rapidly orient block-copolymer layers. By converting these layers into inorganic replicas, we can create layered, multi-component nanostructures, with simple control of the size and shape of the nanoscale unit-cell.


Self-assembly of block copolymers is a powerful motif for spontaneously forming well-defined nanostructures over macroscopic areas. Yet, the inherent energy minimization criteria of self-assembly give rise to a limited library of structures; diblock copolymers naturally form spheres on a cubic lattice, hexagonally packed cylinders and alternating lamellae. Here, we demonstrate multicomponent nanomeshes with any desired lattice symmetry. We exploit photothermal annealing to rapidly order and align block copolymer phases over macroscopic areas, combined with conversion of the self-assembled organic phase into inorganic replicas. Repeated photothermal processing independently aligns successive layers, providing full control of the size, symmetry and composition of the nanoscale unit cell. We construct a variety of symmetries, most of which are not natively formed by block copolymers, including squares, rhombuses, rectangles and triangles. In fact, we demonstrate all possible two-dimensional Bravais lattices. Finally, we elucidate the influence of nanostructure on the electrical and optical properties of nanomeshes.