We present and discuss the capability of grain boundaries to induce order in block copolymer thin films between horizontally and vertically assembled block copolymer grains. The system we use as a proof of principle is a thermally annealed 23.4 nm full-pitch lamellar Polystyrene-block-polymethylmetacrylate (PS-b-PMMA)
di-block copolymer. In this paper, grain-boundary-induced alignment is achieved by the mechanical removal of the neutral brush layer via atomic force microscopy (AFM). The concept is also confirmed by a mask-less e-beam direct writing process. An elongated grain of vertically aligned lamellae is trapped between two grains of horizontally aligned lamellae. This configuration leads to the formation of 90° twist grain boundaries. The features maintain their orientation on a characteristic length scale, which is described by the material’s correlation length ξ
. As a result of an energy minimization process, the block copolymer domains in the vertically aligned grain orient perpendicularly to the grain boundary. The energy-minimizing feature is the grain boundary itself. The width of the manipulated area (e.g., the horizontally aligned grain) does not represent a critical process parameter.
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