Block copolymers microphase separate to form periodic patterns with features of a few nm and above. The self-assembled nanostructures adopt a variety of bulk geometries, including alternating lamellae, gyroids, arrays of cylinders or spheres, tiling patterns, or core–shell structures, depending on the molecular architecture of the polymer and the volume fraction of its blocks, making them attractive materials for nanofabrication and nanolithography. A diverse range of 2D and 3D geometries can be created by directed self-assembly of block copolymer films on substrates patterned with topographical or chemical features, and the orientation of the microdomains can be controlled by solvent annealing and by engineering the top surface of the film. This presentation will describe strategies for templating thin films of diblock copolymers, triblock terpolymers, and bottlebrush copolymers to form both periodic and aperiodic features, combined with solvent annealing to generate non-bulk morphologies, and demonstrate how these block copolymer patterns can be functionalized with metals and oxides and used to make magnetic nanostructures, nanowires and superhydrophobic surfaces.
Prof. Ross’ research is directed towards the magnetic properties of thin films and small structures, particularly for data storage and logic applications, and towards methods for creating nanoscale structures based on directed self-assembly and lithography.
Current research on magnetic materials includes the synthesis and characterization of magnetic nanostructures for domain wall logic devices, the behavior of 360 degree domain walls, magnetic metallic particles formed by templated dewetting, magnetoelasticity, magnetic perovskites such as Fe- and Co-substituted strontium titanate, magnetooptical materials for integrated optical isolators, and self-assembled oxide nanocomposites.
Ross also studies the self-assembly of block copolymers and develops methods for templating self-assembly in order to form well-organized structures useful in nanoscale fabrication and devices.
The Thin Film Laboratory includes a pulsed laser deposition system and an ultra-high vacuum sputter system, in addition to a range of magnetic, magnetooptical, and magnetoelectronic characterization equipment.