Rapid Design and Engineering of Materials Systems for Nanomanufacturing via Directed Self-Assembly
Block copolymers are a special form of polymer made by simply joining two different types of polymer chains together. These interesting materials naturally exhibit complex nanostructured morphologies and have potential uses in a wide range of applications including organic solar cells, water purification filters, fuel cells for power production, and semiconductor device fabrication. To be useful in many applications, block copolymers must be used as thin films and the location and orientation of the different polymer phases must be carefully controlled. The general approach to be used will combine detailed molecular modeling tools with carefully selected experimental studies to form a material and process design loop that can result in significantly faster material design cycles than are currently possible. In this project, new block copolymers that can achieve much smaller feature sizes and which possess useful functional properties will be developed. In addition, a new meso-scale molecular dynamics model that can accurately reproduce the properties and behavior of realistic block copolymers will be coupled to detailed experimental studies to develop well parameterized models for these new block copolymer systems. This modeling capability will form the core of a new rapid methodology for designing the interfacial guiding layers required to produce ordered films using DSA with these new polymers. These models will be used to explore and map the behavior and process windows for such systems so that directed self-assembly manufacturing processes can be rapidly developed.