Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2014

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

First Advisor

Mark P. Stoykovich

Second Advisor

Daniel K. Schwartz

Third Advisor

Jeffrey W. Stansbury

Fourth Advisor

Yifu Ding

Fifth Advisor

Yung-Chen Lee


Block copolymer lithography is an emerging nanopatterning technology with capabilities that may complement and eventually replace those provided by existing optical lithography techniques. This bottom-up process relies on the parallel self-assembly of macromolecules composed of covalently linked, chemically distinct blocks to generate periodic nanostructures. Among the myriad potential morphologies, lamellar structures formed by diblock copolymers with symmetric volume fractions have attracted the most interest as a patterning tool. When confined to thin films and directed to assemble with interfaces perpendicular to the substrate, two-dimensional domains are formed between the free surface and the substrate, and selective removal of a single block creates a nanostructured polymeric template. The substrate exposed between the polymeric features can subsequently be modified through standard top-down microfabrication processes to generate novel nanostructured materials. Despite tremendous progress in our understanding of block copolymer self-assembly, continuous two-dimensional materials have not yet been fabricated via this robust technique, which may enable nanostructured material combinations that cannot be fabricated through bottom-up methods.

This thesis aims to study the effects of block copolymer composition and processing on the lamellar network morphology of polystyrene-block-poly(methyl methacrylate) (PS-b-PMMA) and utilize this knowledge to fabricate continuous two-dimensional materials through top-down methods. First, block copolymer composition was varied through homopolymer blending to explore the physical phenomena surrounding lamellar network continuity. After establishing a framework for tuning the continuity, the effects of various processing parameters were explored to engineer the network connectivity via defect annihilation processes. Precisely controlling the connectivity and continuity of lamellar networks through defect engineering and optimizing the block copolymer lithography process thus enabled the top-down fabrication of continuous two-dimensional gold networks with nanoscale properties. The lamellar structure of these networks was found to confer unique mechanical properties on the nanowire networks and suggests that materials templated via this method may be excellent candidates for integration into stretchable and flexible devices.