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Solvothermal Annealing of Block Copolymer Thin Films

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posted on 13.11.2013 by Kevin W. Gotrik, C. A. Ross
A two-stage annealing process for block copolymer films was introduced consisting of a solvent vapor exposure followed by a thermal cycle. By heating the film but not the chamber, changes in the ambient vapor pressure of the solvent were avoided. Films of block copolymers and homopolymers showed transient nonmonotonic swelling behavior immediately after solvent exposure that was dependent on how the thin film was cast before the anneal. Thermal cycling of the solvent-swelled block copolymer films during the solvent vapor anneal (SVA) caused the films to deswell in 1–10 s and produced well-ordered microdomains in templated 45.5 and 51.5 kg/mol polystyrene-block-polydimethylsiloxane films annealed in toluene and n-heptane vapors for total process times of 30 s to 5 min.