Block copolymers self-assemble on nanometer length scales, making them ideal for emerging nanotechnologies. Many applications (e.g., templating, membranes) require the use of block copolymers in thin film geometries (~100 nm thickness), where self-assembly is strongly influenced by surface energetics. In this review, we discuss the roles of surface and interfacial effects on self-assembly, with a specific focus on confinement, substrate surface modification, and thermal and solvent annealing conditions. Finally, we comment on novel techniques for manipulating and characterizing thin films, motivating the use of gradient and high-throughput methods for gaining a comprehensive picture of self-assembly to enable advanced nanotechnologies.

Read full text on ScienceDirect

DOI: 10.1016/S1369-7021(10)70106-1