Directed Self-Assembly of Performance Materials
Abstract: Directed self-assembly is arguably the most promising strategy for high-volume cost-effective manufacturing at the nanoscale. Over the past decades, manufacturing techniques have been developed with such remarkable efficiency that it is now possible to engineer complex systems of heterogeneous materials at the scale of a few tens of nanometers. Further evolution of these techniques, however, is faced with difficult challenges not only in feasibility of implementation at scales of 10 nm and below, but also in prohibitively high capital equipment costs.
Materials that self-assemble, on the other hand, spontaneously form nanostructures down to length scales at the molecular scale, but the micrometer areas or volumes over which the materials self-assemble with adequate perfection in structure is incommensurate with the macroscopic dimensions of devices and systems of devices of industrial relevance.
Directed self-assembly (DSA) refers to the integration of self-assembling materials with traditional manufacturing processes. The key concept of DSA is to take advantage of the self-assembling properties of materials and at the same time meet the constraints of manufacturing. Put another way, DSA enables current manufacturing process capabilities to be enhanced and augmented at drastically reduced cost.
Here I will discuss the use of lithographically defined chemically patterned surfaces to direct the assembly of block copolymer films for semiconductor manufacturing and the design of ion-conducting membranes for energy applications, liquid crystal based systems for optoelectronics, and nanoparticles for applications in nanophotonics.In addition, I will highlight how DSA of these systems enables new strategies and techniques for characterization and optimization of both materials and processing conditions.