Directed self-assembly (DSA) of block copolymers (BCPs), either by selective wetting of surface chemical prepatterns or by graphoepitaxial alignment with surface topography, has ushered in a new era for high-resolution nanopatterning. These pioneering approaches, while effective, require expensive and time-consuming lithographic patterning of each substrate to direct the assembly. To overcome this shortcoming, nanoimprint molds-attainable via low-cost optical lithography-were investigated for their potential to be reusable and efficiently template the assembly of block copolymers (BCPs) while under complete confinement. Nanoimprint directed self-assembly conveniently avoids repetitive and expensive chemical or topographical prepatterning of substrates. To demonstrate this technique for high-resolution nanofabrication, we aligned sub-10 nm resolution nanopatterns using a cylinder-forming, organic-inorganic hybrid block copolymer, polystyrene-block-polydimethylsiloxane (PS-b-PDMS). Nanopatterns derived from oxidized PDMS microdomains were successfully transferred into the underlying substrate using plasma etching. In the development phase of this procedure, we investigated the role of mold treatments and pattern geometries as DSA of BCPs are driven by interfacial chemistry and physics. In the optimized route, silicon molds treated with PDMS surface brushes promoted rapid BCP alignment and reliable mold release while appropriate mold geometries provided a single layer of cylinders and negligible residual layers as required for pattern transfer. Molds thus produced were reusable to the same efficacy between nanoimprints. We also demonstrated that shear flow during the nanoimprint process enhanced the alignment of the BCP near open edges, which may be engineered in future schemes to control the BCP microdomain alignment kinetics during DSA.
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