WARF: P140025US01

Block Copolymers for Sub-10 Nanometer Lithography


Padma Gopalan, Xiang Yu, Myungwoong Kim, Daniel Sweat

The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) is seeking commercial partners interested in developing block copolymers that can self-assemble into domains having very small dimensions.
OVERVIEWBlock copolymer (BCP) lithography is one of the most powerful technologies of the digital electronics era, allowing millions of nanoscale components to be fabricated on a single chip.

BCPs are made of two chemically distinct polymer chains linked together. Due to this bond, BCPs can self-assemble into a variety of nanostructures. In the self-assembly process, the most critical factors that govern domain size are the degree of polymerization (N) and Flory-Huggins interaction parameter (χ), which is a measure of interaction strength.

A high χ value is needed to achieve small, ordered BCPs. One type of material with a high χ value is polyhydroxystyrene (PHS). Unfortunately, the process of bonding to PHS degrades many other useful polymer blocks.
THE INVENTIONUW–Madison researchers have developed BCPs characterized by high Flory-Huggins interaction parameters (χ). They can self-assemble into domains having very small dimensions, and therefore are extremely useful in lithography.

The new BCPS may be polymerized from PHS monomers or from tert-butyl styrene and 2-vinylpyridine monomers. Overall degree of polymerization (N) can be experimentally controlled so that it’s high enough to form a desired phase (e.g., cylinders, spheres, lamellae, etc.) but low enough to produce very small dimensions.
  • BCP lithography
  • Fabricating semiconductor devices, integrated circuits, transistors, hard disk drives and display technologies
  • New BCPS have high Flory-Huggins interaction parameters (at least .15) and low overall degrees of polymerization.
  • Enables extremely small dimensions (smaller than 10 nm)
  • Can utilize polyhydroxystyrene (PHS)
STAGE OF DEVELOPMENTThe development of this technology was supported by WARF Accelerator. WARF Accelerator selects WARF’s most commercially promising technologies and provides expert assistance and funding to enable achievement of commercially significant milestones. WARF believes that these technologies are especially attractive opportunities for licensing.
Contact Information
For current licensing status, please contact Jeanine Burmania at or 608-960-9846.
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