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Author ORCID Identifier



Open Access Dissertation

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program

Polymer Science and Engineering

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded


First Advisor

Thomas P. Russell

Second Advisor

Kenneth R. Carter

Subject Categories

Nanoscience and Nanotechnology | Polymer and Organic Materials


Directed self-assembly (DSA) of block copolymers (BCPs) based on topographic patterns is one of the most promising strategies for overcoming resolution limitations in the current lithographic process and fabricating the next generation data storage devices. While the DSA of BCPs with deep topographic patterning has been extensively studied both experimentally and theoretically over the past two decades, less attention has been paid to the development of the DSA process using minimal topographic patterning. This dissertation focuses on understanding the effect of minimal topographic patterning on guiding the self-assembly of BCPs in 2D and 3D. We demonstrate that minimal trench patterns can be used to achieve highly ordered hexagonal arrays or unidirectionally aligned line patterns over large areas. By preparing BCP thin films on a series of minimal single trench with different dimensions, we study the minimum amount of topographic patterning necessary to successfully guide the self-assembly of BCPs. This approach provides insight into the minimum pitch of the trench necessary to fully order BCP microdomains. We develop a simple and robust method for the generation of macroscopically ordered xi hexagonal arrays from the DSA of BCPs based on minimal trench patterns with solvent vapor annealing. The use of minimal trench patterns allows us to elucidate the morphological characteristics and lateral ordering of hexagonal array using grazing incidence small angle X-ray scattering (GISAXS). Moreover, using minimal trench patterns, we describe the generation of BCP line patterns oriented orthogonal to the trench direction over arbitrarily macroscopic distances. Beyond 2D BCP nanostructures, we explore the fabrication of 3D BCP architectures over large areas using simple woodpile structures as 3D guiding templates. We can also produce 3D networks of metallic nanostructures within the woodpile structures using a metal salt infiltration technique. In the last part, we conclude this dissertation and propose an outlook.