Crafting Threads of Diblock Copolymer Micelles <i>via</i> Flow-Enabled Self-Assembly

Hierarchically assembled amphiphilic diblock copolymer micelles were exquisitely crafted over large areas by capitalizing on two concurrent self-assembling processes at different length scales, namely, the periodic threads composed of a monolayer or a bilayer of diblock copolymer micelles precisely positioned by flow-enabled self-assembly (FESA) on the microscopic scale and the self-assembly of amphiphilic diblock copolymer micelles into ordered arrays within an individual thread on the nanometer scale. A minimum spacing between two adjacent threads λ<sub>min</sub> was observed. A model was proposed to rationalize the relationship between the thread width and λ<sub>min</sub>. Such FESA of diblock copolymer micelles is remarkably controllable and easy to implement. It opens up possibilities for <i>lithography-free</i> positioning and patterning of diblock copolymer micelles for various applications in template fabrication of periodic inorganic nanostructures, nanoelectronics, optoelectronics, magnetic devices, and biotechnology.