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Access Type

Open Access

Document Type


Degree Program

Chemical Engineering

Degree Type

Master of Science in Chemical Engineering (M.S.Ch.E.)

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded



Well-ordered mesoporous silica, Accessible pores, Device fabrication methods, Lithography, Dye quenching


Developing effective methods of generating thin metal oxide films are important for sensing and separations applications. An obstacle to device fabrication is controlling the size and spatial orientation of domain level pores while retaining the ability to generate arbitrary device level patterns. Well-ordered hexagonally packed cylindrical pores were created by taking advantage of block copolymer self-assembly followed by selective condensation of silica precursors using supercritical carbon dioxide as the solvent. It was possible to control the pore size by choosing PEO-PPO-PEO (Pluronic® series) triblock copolymers of differing molecular weights.

These processes were then incorporated with conventional lithographic techniques to generate patterns on the device scale. The first route involves replacement of the organic acid catalyst with a photoacid generator that restricts acid formation by masking pre-determined regions then exposing to UV light. The second route is similar except that addition of a cross-linking agent limits acid diffusion while reversing the tone of the final pattern. The third route avoids acid diffusion altogether and generates the pattern through reactive ion etching through a sacrificial photoresist. A completely different fourth route was taken and nanoimprint lithography was used to generate sub-micron patterns with alternate block copolymers.

The feasibility of the preliminary devices generated in this thesis has been examined through particle diffusion experiments. Samples were soaked in a fluorescent dye then exposed to multiple sizes of gold nanoparticles. Fluorescence quenching was then monitored to determine pore accessibility.


First Advisor

James J Watkins