Directed Self-Assembly of Block Copolymers: Opportunities and Challenges on the Path to Scalable Nanomanufacturing
Henderson, Clifford L.
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Richard Feynman in his now famous 1959 talk entitled “There’s Plenty of Room at the Bottom,” envisioned a world of atomically precise manufacturing that would fuel advancements in information storage, computing, and other fields, though he had only a few rudimentary concepts of how to achieve such a goal at the time. Move forward to 2015 where the semiconductor industry routinely manufactures circuit elements that are below 40 nm in size and the data storage industry is poised to manufacture and sell bit patterned media with even smaller magnetic elements. While we have achieved many of the feats Feynman originally envisioned in his original talk, there is still plenty of room at the bottom in 2-D and 3-D geometries that cannot yet be accessed using truly high volume manufacturing techniques. This talk will first present a view of current nanomanufacturing capabilities and the challenges being faced going forward as attempts are made to develop high volume methods for fabricating sub-30 nm size device features for microelectronics applications. The remaining majority of the talk will focus on the directed self-assembly of block copolymers as one possible method that could achieve this goal of high volume manufacturing of device elements with sizes down into sub-10 nm length scales. Underlying much of what we envision as nanomanufacturing for functional devices is the ability to form nanoscale two dimensional and three dimensional structures in various organic and inorganic materials. For example, all modern electronic devices (e.g. computers, cell phones, tablets, etc.) rely on the use of microprocessors and memory devices that possess integrated circuit (IC) device features smaller than 50 nm in size. The critical and enabling technologies for mass producing such microelectronic devices are the combination of lithographic materials, processes, and tools used to pattern the nanoscale device elements that constitute the transistor device active layers and the subsequent electrical interconnect layers. However, continuing to scale such devices down in feature size faces a number of challenges in terms of the materials, tools, and economics of such micro- and nanofabrication technologies. Solutions to these problems will require new materials and new material processing approaches. The first part of this talk will quickly review the current state of the art in such lithographic nanopatterning technologies and some of the current challenges being faced by traditional lithography and IC manufacturing methods. The second part of the talk will address how we are applying chemical engineering, materials science, and synthetic chemistry concepts to develop solutions to these challenges. Specifically, we will look at the role self-assembly may play in the future of nanomanufacturing through the use of block copolymer directed self-assembly techniques (BCP DSA). Block copolymers have the natural tendency to micro-phase separate at length scales commensurate with the polymer chain dimensions, i.e. on the order of 1 to 100 nm in size. Left alone to micro-phase separate in the bulk, such block copolymers form nanostructured but disordered morphologies. However, when combined with templating surfaces patterned with traditional lithography techniques, nanometer length scale features with the long range order required for nanomanufacturing can be achieved. This talk will highlight the synergy of combining experimental and molecular modeling approaches to attack such problems and will discuss current achievements and remaining challenges in the field of BCP DSA.
- Nano@Tech Lecture Series