skip to main content


Title: In-plane and out-of-plane defectivity in thin films of lamellar block copolymers

We investigate the ordering of poly(styrene-b-methyl methacrylate) (PS-PMMA) lamellar copolymers (periodicity L 0 = 46 nm) confined between a free surface and brushed poly(styrene-r-methyl methacrylate) silicon substrate. The processing temperature was selected to eliminate wetting layers at the top and bottom interfaces, producing approximately neutral boundaries that stabilize perpendicular domain orientations. The PS-PMMA film thickness (t = 0.5L 0–2.5L 0) and brush grafting density (Σ = 0.2–0.6 nm –2) were systematically varied to examine their impacts on in-plane and out-of-plane ordering. Samples were characterized with a combination of high-resolution microscopy, X-ray reflectivity, and grazing-incidence small-angle X-ray scattering. In-plane order at the top of the film (quantified through calculation of orientational correlation lengths) improved with t n, where the exponent n increased from 0.75 to 1 as Σ decreased from 0.6 to 0.2 nm –2. Out-of-plane defects such as tilted domains were detected in all films, and the distribution of domain tilt angles was nearly independent of t and Σ. These studies demonstrate that defectivity in perpendicular lamellar phases is three-dimensional, comprised of in-plane topological defects and out-of-plane domain tilt, with little or no correlation between these two types of disorder. As a result, strong interactions between the block copolymer andmore » underlying substrate may trap both kinds of thermally generated defects.« less
 [1] ;  [1] ;  [1] ;  [2] ; ORCiD logo [1]
  1. Univ. of Houston, Houston, TX (United States)
  2. Argonne National Lab. (ANL), Argonne, IL (United States)
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Journal of Polymer Science. Part B, Polymer Physics
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 54; Journal Issue: 2; Journal ID: ISSN 0887-6266
Research Org:
Argonne National Lab. (ANL), Argonne, IL (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation (NSF); USDOE Office of Science (SC), Basic Energy Sciences (BES) (SC-22)
Country of Publication:
United States
36 MATERIALS SCIENCE; block copolymers; defectivity; directed self-assembly; grazing-incidence small angle X-ray scattering; thin films
OSTI Identifier: