Nanostructured organic templates originating from self-assembled block copolymers (BCPs) can be converted into inorganic nanostructures by sequential infiltration synthesis (SIS). This capability is particularly relevant within the framework of advanced lithographic applications because of the exploitation of the BCP-based nanostructures as hard masks. In this work, Al2O3 dot and antidot arrays were synthesized by sequential infiltration of trimethylaluminum and water precursors into perpendicularly oriented cylinder-forming poly(styrene-block-methyl methacrylate) (PS-b-PMMA) BCP thin films. The mechanism governing the effective incorporation of Al2O3 into the PMMA component of the BCP thin films was investigated evaluating the evolution of the lateral and vertical dimensions of Al2O3 dot and antidot arrays as a function of the SIS cycle number. The not-reactive PS component and the PS/PMMA interface in self-assembled PS-b-PMMA thin films result in additional paths for diffusion and supplementary surfaces for sorption of precursor molecules, respectively. Thus, the mass uptake of Al2O3 into the PMMA block of self-assembled PS-b-PMMA thin films is higher than that in pure PMMA thin films.
This research was partially supported by the project “IONS4SET” funded from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program (Grant No. 688072).