Understanding nanodomain morphology formation in dip-coated PS-b-PEO thin films

Hoang M. Nguyen, Ariane Mader, Swarnalok De, Jaana Vapaavuori*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Block copolymer (BCP) thin films prepared by dip-coating are increasingly investigated, owing to the many promising application areas, the facility, and the industrial scalability of this technique. Yet, the effect of different dip-coating parameters on BCP nanostructure formation is still underdeveloped and the results of previous literature are limited to a few block copolymers. Here, we study the effect of the withdrawal rate and solvent selectivity on the morphology evolution of dip-coated polystyrene-b-poly(ethylene oxide) thin films by applying a wide range of dip-coating speeds and altering the volume ratio of the tetrahydrofuran-water solvent system. The dip-coated films were characterized using atomic force microscopy and ellipsometry. The nanodomain morphology, its feature sizes, its spanning, and the degree of ordering were investigated with regard to different dip-coating parameters. Notably, we have obtained a hexagonally packed BCP pattern with long-range order without the need for post-annealing processes. Overall, a solid understanding of the parameters affecting the formed surface patterns and their interplay was attained and explained, extending the knowledge of this field to more materials.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4996-5007
Number of pages12
JournalNanoscale Advances
Issue number17
Early online date12 Jul 2021
Publication statusPublished - 7 Sep 2021
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • block copolymer
  • dip-coating
  • PS-b-PEO
  • self-assembly


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