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Role of Strongly Interacting Additives in Tuning the Structure and Properties of Polymer Systems

Block copolymer (BCP) nanocomposites are an important class of hybrid materials in which the BCP guides the spatial location and the periodic assembly of the additives. High loadings of well-dispersed nanofillers are generally important for many applications including mechanical reinforcing of polymers. In particular the composites shown in this work might find use as etch masks in nanolithography, or for enabling various phase selective reactions for new materials development. This work explores the use of hydrogen bonding interactions between various additives (such as homopolymers and non-polymeric additives) and small, disordered BCPs to cause the formation of well-ordered morphologies with small domains. A detailed study of the organization of homopolymer chains and the evolution of structure during the process of ordering is performed. The results demonstrate that by tuning the selective interaction of the additive with the incorporating phase of the BCP, composites with significantly high loadings of additives can be formed while maintaining order in the BCP morphology. The possibility of high and selective loading of additives in one of the phases of the ordered BCP composite opens new avenues due to high degree of functionalization and the proximity of the additives within the incorporating phase. This aspect is utilized in one case for the formation of a network structure between adjoining additive cores to derive mesoporous inorganic materials with their structures templated by the BCP. The concept of additive-driven assembly is extended to formulate BCP-additive blends with an ability to undergo photo-induced ordering. Underlying this strategy is the ability to transition a weakly interacting additive to its strongly interacting form. This strategy provides an on-demand, non-intrusive route for formation of well-ordered nanostructures in arbitrarily defined regions of an otherwise disordered material. The second area explored in this dissertation deals with the incorporation of additives into photoresists for next generation extreme ultra violet (EUV) photolithography applications. The concept of hydrogen bonding between the additives and the polymeric photoresist was utilized to cause formation of a physical network that is expected to slow down the diffusion of photoacid leading to better photolithographic performance (25-30 nm resolution obtained).
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