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Disordered Nanoparticle Interfaces for Defect-Tolerant Self-Assembly



Kevin G. Yager, Brian Berry, Kirt A. Page, Derek L. Patton, Alamgir Karim, Eric J. Amis


Self-assembly is a promising route for controlling the nanoscale structure and material properties of coatings, yet it remains difficult to control the microstructure of these systems. In particular, self-assembling materials typically have complex and delicate energy landscapes, which can be very sensitive to defects, and for which selecting the desired morphology or orientation can be difficult. We present a general strategy for tuning the film-substrate interaction, which can bias the self-assembly energy landscape and thus enforce a desired morphology and/or orientation. The technique involves using tunable nanoparticles to generate a rough interface of controlled properties. Importantly, the intentional introduction of a highly disordered, defective interface makes the assembly inherently robust and defect-tolerant. We apply this technique to block-copolymer lamellae, and demonstrate a thickness-dependence to the induced orientation, consistent with theoretical predictions.The simultaneous control of substrate topography and surface energy enables expression of the vertical lamellae state without rigorous control of the preparation conditions.
Soft Matter


block-copolymers, defect-tolerance disorder, polymers, self-assembly


Yager, K. , Berry, B. , Page, K. , Patton, D. , Karim, A. and Amis, E. (2008), Disordered Nanoparticle Interfaces for Defect-Tolerant Self-Assembly, Soft Matter, [online], (Accessed April 23, 2024)
Created November 16, 2008, Updated October 12, 2021