Converting the nanodomains of a diblock-copolymer thin film from spheres to cylinders with an external electric field
Matsen, M. W. (2006) Converting the nanodomains of a diblock-copolymer thin film from spheres to cylinders with an external electric field. Journal of Chemical Physics, 124 (7). 07490. ISSN 0021-9606
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We investigate the ability of an applied electric field to convert the morphology of a diblock-copolymer thin film from a monolayer of spherical domains embedded in the matrix to cylindrical domains that penetrate through the matrix. As expected, the applied field increases the relative stability of cylindrical domains, while simultaneously reducing the energy barrier that impedes the transition to cylinders. The effectiveness of the field is enhanced by a large dielectric contrast between the two block-copolymer components, particularly when the low-dielectric contrast component forms the matrix. Furthermore, the energy barrier is minimized by selecting sphere-forming diblock copolymers that are as compositionally symmetric as possible. Our calculations, which are the most quantitatively reliable to date, are performed using a numerically precise spectral algorithm based on self-consistent-field theory supplemented with an exact treatment for linear dielectric materials.