Pattern formation mechanisms in sphere-forming diblock copolymer thin films

  • Leopoldo R. Gómez Instituto de Física del Sur (IFISUR), Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET), Universidad Nacional del Sur, 8000 Bahía Blanca, Argentina
  • Nicolás A. García Instituto de Física del Sur (IFISUR), Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET), Universidad Nacional del Sur, 8000 Bahía Blanca, Argentina
  • Richard A. Register Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey, 08544, USA.
  • Daniel A. Vega Instituto de Física del Sur (IFISUR), Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET), Universidad Nacional del Sur, 8000 Bahía Blanca, Argentina
Keywords: Block Copolymer, Thin Films, Phase Transition, Self-assembly

Abstract

The order-disorder transition of a sphere-forming block copolymer thin film was numerically studied through a Cahn-Hilliard model. Simulations show that the fundamental mechanisms of pattern formation are spinodal decomposition and nucleation and growth. The range of validity of each relaxation process is controlled by the spinodal and order-disorder temperatures. The initial stages of spinodal decomposition are well approximated by a linear analysis of the evolution equation of the system. In the metastable region, the critical size for nucleation diverges upon approaching the order--disorder transition, and reduces to the size of a single domain as the spinodal is approached. Grain boundaries and topological defects inhibit the formation of superheated phases above the order--disorder temperature. The numerical results are in good qualitative agreement with experimental data on sphere-forming diblock copolymer thin films.

Received: 22  August 2017,  Accepted: 12 December 2017; Edited by: R. Dickman;  Reviewed by: A. Peters, Dept. Chemical Engineering, Louisiana Tech Univ., Ruston, USA; DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.4279/PIP.100001

Cite as: L R Gómez, N A García, R A Register, D A Vega, Papers in Physics 10, 100001 (2018)

This paper, by L R Gómez, N A García, R A Register, D A Vega, is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0.

Author Biography

Daniel A. Vega, Instituto de Física del Sur (IFISUR), Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET), Universidad Nacional del Sur, 8000 Bahía Blanca, Argentina

Open Review
Published
2018-01-29
How to Cite
Gómez, L., García, N., Register, R., & Vega, D. (2018). Pattern formation mechanisms in sphere-forming diblock copolymer thin films. Papers in Physics, 10, 100001. https://doi.org/10.4279/pip.100001
Section
Articles
Received 2017-08-22
Accepted 2017-12-12
Published 2018-01-29