Journal of Physical Chemistry B

Interfacial fluctuations of block copolymers: A coarse-grain molecular dynamics simulation study

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The lamellar and cylindrical phases of block copolymers have a number of technological applications, particularly when they occur in supported thin films. One such application is block copolymer lithography, the use of these materials to subdivide or enhance submicrometer patterns defined by optical or electron beam methods. A key parameter of all lithographic methods is the line edge roughness (LER), because the electronic or optical activities of interest are sensitive to small pattern variations. While mean-field models provide a partial picture of the LER and interfacial width expected for the block interface in a diblock copolymer, these models lack chemical detail. To complement mean-field approaches, we have carried out coarse-grain molecular dynamics simulations on model poly(ethyleneoxide)-poly(ethylethylene) (PEO-PEE) lamellae, exploring the influence of chain length and hypothetical chemical modifications on the observed line edge roughness. As expected, our simulations show that increasing χ (the Flory-Huggins parameter) is the most direct route to decreased roughness, although the addition of strong specific interactions at the block interface can also produce smoother patterns. © 2007 American Chemical Society.


20 Nov 2007


Journal of Physical Chemistry B