Nanoscale mapping of thermal and mechanical properties of bare and metal-covered self-assembled block copolymer thin films

Sachat, Alexandros and Spiece, Jean and Evangeli, Charalambos and Robson, Alexander and Kreuzer, Martin and Chavez, Emiglio and Rodriguez-Laguna, Maria del Rocio and Sledzinska, Marianna and Kolosov, Oleg and Sotomayor-Torres, Clivia Marfa and Alzina, Francesc (2020) Nanoscale mapping of thermal and mechanical properties of bare and metal-covered self-assembled block copolymer thin films. ACS Applied Polymer Materials, 2 (2). pp. 487-496. ISSN 2637-6105

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We report on the structural, mechanical and thermal analysis of 40 nm thick polystyrene-block-poly (ethylene oxide) (PS-b-PEO) block copolymer (BCP) films coated with evaporated chromium layers of different thicknesses (1, 2 and 5 nm). Solvent annealing processes allow the structural control of the BCP films morphology by re-arranging the position of the PEO cylinders parallel to the substrate plane. High-vacuum scanning thermal microscopy and ultrasonic force microscopy measurements performed in ambient pressure revealed that coated ultrathin metal layers strongly influence the heat dissipation in the BCP films and the local surface stiffness of the individual BCP domains, respectively. The measured tip-sample effective thermal resistance decreases from 6.1×107 to 2.5×107 KW-1 with increasing Cr film thickness. In addition, scanning probe microscopy measurements allow the thermal and mechanical mapping of the two segregated polymer domains (PEO-PS) of sub-50 nm characteristic sizes, with sub-10 nm thermal spatial resolution. The results revealed the effect of the surface morphology of the BCP and the incorporation of the metal film on the nanoscale thermal properties and volume self-assembly on the mechanical properties. The findings from this study provide insight in the formation of high aspect ratio BCP-metal structures with the more established applications in lithography. In addition, knowledge on the thermal and mechanical properties at the nanoscale is required in emergent applications, where BCPs, or polymers in general, are part of the structure or device. The performance of such devices is commonly related to the requirement of increased heat dissipation while maintaining mechanical flexibility.

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Journal Article
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ACS Applied Polymer Materials
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This document is the Accepted Manuscript version of a Published Work that appeared in final form in ACS Applied Polymer Materials, copyright © American Chemical Society after peer review and technical editing by the publisher. To access the final edited and published work see
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19 Dec 2019 15:30
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19 May 2024 00:40