Direct patterning of intrinsically electron beam sensitive polymer brushes.

Research paper by Abhinav A Rastogi, Marvin Y MY Paik, Manabu M Tanaka, Christopher K CK Ober

Indexed on: 04 Feb '10Published on: 04 Feb '10Published in: ACS Nano


The fabrication of patterned polymer brushes has attracted considerable attention as these structures can be exploited in devices on the nano- and microscale. Patterning of polymer brushes is typically a complex, multistep process. We report the direct patterning of poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA), poly(2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate) (PHEMA), poly(isobutyl methacrylate) (PIBMA), poly(neopentyl methacrylate) (PNPMA), and poly(2,2,2-trifluoroethyl methacrylate) (PTFEMA) brushes in a single step by electron beam (e-beam) lithography, to obtain nanopatterned polymer brush surfaces. PMMA, PHEMA, PIBMA, PNPMA, and PTFEMA brushes were grown on silicon substrates via surface-initiated atom transfer radical polymerization. Surface analysis techniques including ellipsometry, contact angle goniometry, atomic force microscopy (AFM), and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) were used to characterize the thickness, hydrophilicity, roughness, and chemical composition of the polymer brushes. Tapping-mode AFM imaging confirmed the successful electron beam patterning of these brushes. Using this direct patterning method, highly resolved nanostructured polymer brush patterns down to 50 nm lines were obtained. This direct patterning of brushes eliminates the need for complex lithographic schemes. The sensitivity of these polymer brushes toward direct patterning with e-beam was studied and compared. The sensitivity curves indicate that the structure of the e-beam degradable methacrylate polymer has a significant effect on the sensitivity of the polymer brush toward e-beam patterning. In particular, the effect of the chemical functionality at the beta-position to the carbonyl group on the polymer brush sensitivity toward direct patterning was studied using groups of varying size and polarity.