Applied Surface Science, Vol.470, 639-644, 2019
Towards fast nanopattern fabrication by local laser annealing of block copolymer (BCP) films
The nanopatterning of surfaces and thin films with pattern dimensions of less than 100 nm is challenging for laser processing in particular in the case of large-area, low-cost fabrication. Self-assembly processes, however, provide a mechanism of pattern generation in this dimensional range offering an alternative fabrication method. The current work focuses on high-temperature, short-time laser annealing of PS-b-PMMA block copolymer (PS-b-PMMA BCP: poly(styrene-block-methyl methacrylate)) films on fused silica samples to achieve self-assembly into vertical lamellas with periods of approximately 50 nm. BCP samples were irradiated with a focussed CO2-laser beam for studying the influence of the laser power P-L and the scanning speed vs on the lamellae formation in BCP films. The formation of lamellae is observed in the centre of the laser track at sufficient laser irradiation (PL: 2 to 15 W, vs: 1 to 250 mms(-1)). With increasing laser irradiation, first the quality of the lamellas improves to a certain point but thereafter a partial degradation of the BCP and dewetting of the BCP film occurs. The partial degradation of the PMMA micro-phase of the ordered BCP results in a local self-developing process reducing the processing steps for nanopattern formation. The experimental results on laser-induced local self-assembly with irradiation times below 0.1 s are discussed in relation to laser-induced temperature field simulations. Combining self-assembly capabilities of BCP with local heating by laser beams can provide a tool for direct writing of hierarchical nano-/microscale patterns that is useful for various applications mimicking bio-inspired structures.