Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Copolymers Block Out New Approaches To Microelectronics

Date:
March 17, 2008
Source:
National Institute of Standards and Technology
Summary:
Researchers have improved manipulation of so-called block copolymers -- polymers made of a mixture of two or more different molecule building blocks that are tethered at a junction point -- which can form arrays of tiny dots that could be used as the basis for electronic components that pack terabytes (1000 gigabytes) of memory in something as small as a pack of gum.

A novel technique for controlling the orientation of nanostructures (red and blue) is to use disordered, roughened substrates. Silica nanoparticles (orange), cast onto silicon substrates (grey), create ‘tunable’ substrates which can control self-assembly, despite inherent disorder.
Credit: NIST

In response to the electronics industry's rallying cry of "smaller and faster," the next breakthroughs in the electronics size barrier are likely to come from microchips and data storage devices created out of novel materials such as organic molecules and polymers. With innovative measurement techniques and new ways to position the molecules, NIST researchers reported at the March Meeting of the American Physical Society how they have improved manipulation of so-called block copolymers--polymers made of a mixture of two or more different molecule building blocks that are tethered at a junction point--which can form arrays of tiny dots that could be used as the basis for electronic components that pack terabytes (1000 gigabytes) of memory in something as small as a pack of gum.

Related Articles


One of the challenges in polymer nanotechnology is how to control their self-assembly--a hard-to-control process for materials which require precision. An important recent NIST accomplishment has been in developing accurate measurements of thin film polymeric nanostructure in 3-D. (Ironically, while determining atomic structure is well-established, measuring the slightly larger internal structure of the polymers--on the order of 10 to 20 nanometers--is much harder.)

Ron Jones, together with colleagues from NIST, the University of Maryland and IBM, has used NIST's neutron scattering and reflectivity facility to deflect neutrons off block copolymer films from many different angles. By combining the many 2-D neutron scattering pictures into a single composite scattering pattern, this technique provides the first quantitative method for imaging the 3-D internal structure of thin film polymeric nanostructures using neutron scattering--a crucial tool to see if the nanoscale polymer structures are in their required positions.1

NIST researchers also have developed new insights on how best to nudge these self-assembling material into those positions. August Bosse will report on computer simulations that model how the polymers assemble when they are placed on templates lined with troughs separated by crests.2 When a heated zone is swept across the template, the polymer molecules assemble into almost defect free, well-aligned lines faster over the entire template, an important feature for nanotech manufacturing applications.3 Sangcheol Kim (working with a team that included researchers from the University of Maryland and IBM) has found that changing the surface chemistry of the template by making some parts hydrophillic and some parts hydrophobic also can elegantly control the dimension of the block-copolymer pattern relative to the chemical template.4

And last, with all this emphasis on precise placement, NIST researcher Kevin Yager, has learned that sometimes sloppier is better. By purposely roughening up his templates with a sprinkling of chemically modified nanoparticle silica, he has forced block copolymers into standing perpendicular to the template--a feat that is generally considered tough to manage but important for nanotech applications.5 Of course, the inner structure of the polymers are not orderly with this technique, but for those applications where only the surface needs to be smooth, this is an ideal, inexpensive way to achieve vertical structures.

1 R. Jones, X. Zhang, S. Kim, A. Karim, R. Briber and H. Kim. Orientation distribution for thin film block copolymers. Presented at the March Meeting of the American Physical Society, March 12, 2008, New Orleans, La. Session: Q22.00007.

2 A. Bosse, R. Jones and A. Karim. Fluctuation-induced line-edge roughness in nano-confined block copolymer thin films. Presented at the March Meeting of the American Physical Society, March 11, 2008, New Orleans, La. Session: L22.00010.

3 A. Karim. INVITED TALK. Templated Self-Assembly of Block Copolymer Thin Films. Presented at the March Meeting of the American Physical Society, March 10, 2008, New Orleans, La. Session: B4.00002.

4 S. Kim, H-J. Lee, R.L. Jones, A. Karim, R.M. Briber and H-C. Kim. Precise control of 3-dimensional block copolymer assembly using 2-dimensional chemical templates. Presented at the March Meeting of the American Physical Society, March 10, 2008, New Orleans, La. Session: A25.00010.

5 K. Yager, A. Karim and E. Amis. Disordered nanoparticle interfaces for defect-tolerance in the self-assembly of block-copolymers. Presented at the March Meeting of the American Physical Society, March 12, 2008, New Orleans, La. Session: P18.00001.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by National Institute of Standards and Technology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

National Institute of Standards and Technology. "Copolymers Block Out New Approaches To Microelectronics." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 March 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080312141238.htm>.
National Institute of Standards and Technology. (2008, March 17). Copolymers Block Out New Approaches To Microelectronics. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 27, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080312141238.htm
National Institute of Standards and Technology. "Copolymers Block Out New Approaches To Microelectronics." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080312141238.htm (accessed November 27, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Matter & Energy News

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

NASA's First 3-D Printer In Space Creates Its First Object

NASA's First 3-D Printer In Space Creates Its First Object

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) The International Space Station is now using a proof-of-concept 3D printer to test additive printing in a weightless, isolated environment. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Bolivian Recycling Initiative Turns Plastic Waste Into School Furniture

Bolivian Recycling Initiative Turns Plastic Waste Into School Furniture

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) Innovative recycling project in La Paz separates city waste and converts plastic garbage into school furniture made from 'plastiwood'. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Blu-Ray Discs Getting Second Run As Solar Panels

Blu-Ray Discs Getting Second Run As Solar Panels

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) Researchers at Northwestern University are repurposing Blu-ray movies for better solar panel technology thanks to the discs' internal structures. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) Advances in prosthetics are making replacement body parts stronger and more lifelike than they’ve ever been. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins