Effect of Nanostructured Domains in Self-Assembled Block Copolymer Films on Sequential Infiltration Synthesis
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There are broad interests in selective and localized synthesis in nanodomains of self-assembled block copolymers (BCPs) for a variety of applications. Sequential infiltration synthesis (SIS) shows promise to selectively grow a controllable amount of materials in one type of nanodomain of a self-assembled BCP film. However, the effects of nanostructured domains in a BCP film and SIS cycles on the material growth behavior of SIS are rarely studied. In this work, we investigated the growth behavior of TiO2 SIS within self-assembled polystyrene-block-poly(methyl methacrylate) (PS-b-PMMA) films and the two corresponding pure homopolymer films (PS and PMMA) by using in situ quartz crystal microbalance (QCM). According to the experimental results, reactant purge steps are essential to enable a high selectivity of SIS in PMMA nanodomains in the BCP films by eliminating the undesired homogeneous reactions. The continuous PS nanodomain acts as the main channel in transporting reactants to PMMA nanodomains in the self-assembled PS-b-PMMA BCP films. The segregated nanoscale PMMA nanodomains in the BCP films show dramatically different TiCl4 diffusion/reaction behavior than a continuous PMMA film. The mass gain per SIS cycle within PMMA nanodomains decreases quickly with increasing cycle number. After 7 TiO2 SIS cycles, TiO2 SIS can only take place at the interface between PS and PMMA nanodomains in the BCP film. The TiO2 SIS process can uniformly modify PMMA nanodomains throughout a self-assembled PS-b-PMMA film up to the diffusion depth owing to the unique nanostructure-enabled diffusion. SIS cycle number and chemistry of a BCP will strongly affect the material growth behavior of a SIS chemistry on the BCP film and, therefore, the final morphology of the resulting nanomaterial. Detailed studies are warranted for a SIS process on a self-assembled BCP film of different chemistry.
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