Banik, M. ; Oded, M. ; Shenhar, R. Coupling the Chemistry and Topography of Block Copolymer Films Patterned by Soft Lithography for Nanoparticle Organization
. Soft Matter 2022
, 5302-5311. DOIAbstract
Soft lithography techniques have become leading mesoscale approaches for replicating topographic features in polymer films. So far, the modified polymer films formed by soft lithography only featured topographic heterogeneity. Here we demonstrate the application of soft lithography techniques to block copolymer films, and show that the preferential affinity of one of the blocks to the stamping material leads to chemical heterogeneity that corresponds to the topographic features. Detailed surface and structural characterization of the patterned films provided information on its three-dimensional structure, revealing insights on the domain reorganization that takes place in the block copolymer film concomitantly with topography formation. The formed structures were utilized for selective assembly of gold nanoparticles into hierarchical structures. The versatility of this combined nanofabrication/self-assembly approach was demonstrated by the assembly of two types of metallic nanoparticles into two different arrangements with full control over the location of each type of nanoparticles.
Michman, E. ; Oded, M. ; Shenhar, R. Dual Block Copolymer Morphologies in Ultrathin Films on Topographic Substrates: The Effect of Film Curvature
. Polymers 2022
, 2377. DOIAbstract
The ability to create mixed morphologies using easily controlled parameters is crucial for the integration of block copolymers in advanced technologies. We have previously shown that casting an ultrathin block copolymer film on a topographically patterned substrate results in different deposited thicknesses on the plateaus and in the trenches, which leads to the co-existence of two patterns. In this work, we highlight the dependence of the dual patterns on the film profile. We suggest that the steepness of the film profile formed across the plateau edge affects the nucleation of microphase-separated domains near the plateau edges, which influences the morphology that develops on the plateau regions. An analysis of the local film thicknesses in multiple samples exhibiting various combinations of plateau and trench widths for different trench depths enabled the construction of phase diagrams, which unraveled the intricate dependence of the formed patterns not only on the curvature of the film profile but also on the fraction of the film that resides in the trenches. Our analysis facilitates the prediction of the patterns that would develop in the trenches and on the plateaus for a given block copolymer film of known thickness from the dimensions of the topographic features.
Takebayashi, S. ; Iron, M. A. ; Feller, M. ; Rivada-Wheelaghan, O. ; Leitus, G. ; Diskin-Posner, Y. ; Shimon, L. J. W. ; Avram, L. ; Carmieli, R. ; Wolf, S. G. ; et al. Iron-catalysed ring-opening metathesis polymerization of olefins and mechanistic studies
. Nature Catalysis 2022
The olefin metathesis reaction is among the most widely applicable catalytic reactions for carbon–carbon double bond formation. Currently, Mo– and Ru–carbene catalysts are the most common choices for this reaction. It has been suggested that an iron-based catalyst would be a desirable economical and biocompatible substitute of the Ru catalysts; however, practical solutions in this regard are still lacking. Here, we report the discovery and mechanistic studies of three-coordinate iron(II) catalysts for ring-opening metathesis polymerization of olefins. Remarkably, their reactivity enabled the formation of polynorbornene with stereoregularity and high molecular weight (>107 g mol–1). The polymerization in the presence of styrene revealed cross metathesis reactivity with iron catalysts. Mechanistic studies suggest the possible role of metal–ligand cooperation in formation of the productive catalyst. This work opens the door to the development of iron complexes that can be economical and biocompatible catalysts for olefin metathesis reactions.
Muzaffar-Kawasma, R. ; Oded, M. ; Shenhar, R. Assembly of Semiconductor Nanorods into Circular Arrangements Mediated by Block Copolymer Micelles
. Materials 2022
, 2949. DOIAbstract
The collective properties of ordered ensembles of anisotropically shaped nanoparticles depend on the morphology of organization. Here, we describe the utilization of block copolymer micelles to bias the natural packing tendency of semiconductor nanorods and organize them into circularly arranged superstructures. These structures are formed as a result of competition between the segregation tendency of the nanorods in solution and in the polymer melt; when the nanorods are highly compatible with the solvent but prefer to segregate in the melt to the core-forming block, they migrate during annealing toward the core–corona interface, and their superstructure is, thus, templated by the shape of the micelle. The nanorods, in turn, exhibit surfactant-like behavior and protect the micelles from coalescence during annealing. Lastly, the influence of the attributes of the micelles on nanorod organization is also studied. The circular nanorod arrangements and the insights gained in this study add to a growing list of possibilities for organizing metal and semiconductor nanorods that can be achieved using rational design.
Eren, N. ; Burg, O. ; Michman, E. ; Popov, I. ; Shenhar, R. Gold Nanoparticle Arrays Organized in Mixed Patterns Through Directed Self-assembly of Ultrathin Block Copolymer Films on Topographic Substrates
. Polymer 2022
, 124727. DOIAbstract
Controlling complexity in assemblies of metal and semiconductor nanoparticles has the potential to expand the utilization of photonic devices into wavelength regimes that are currently inaccessible. Here we show that casting ultrathin films of asymmetric block copolymers on topographically defined substrates affords four types of mixed patterns through fine control of film thickness. Analysis of top-view and cross-sectional images revealed different morphological behavior of the film in the trench and on the plateau, which was explained by the difference in the type of boundary imposed by each topographic feature. Exposed domains were chemically modified and selectively decorated with gold nanoparticles, giving rise to nanoparticle superstructures with mixed patterns in a controlled fashion. We envisage utilization of such hierarchical superstructures as plasmon waveguides and metasurfaces.
Columbus, I. ; Eren, N. ; Elitsur, R. ; Davidovich-Pinhas, M. ; Shenhar, R. Branched Supramolecular Copolymers: Inducing Branching in Bisurea-Based Monomers Using Multi-Sulfonate Molecules
. Macromolecules 2022
, 472–487. DOIAbstract
Supramolecular polymers are based on noncovalent interactions, which impart unique properties such as dynamic behavior, concentration-dependent degree of polymerization, and environmental responsiveness. While linear supramolecular polymers are ubiquitous and have been extensively studied, branched polymers that are based exclusively on supramolecular interactions are much less abundant, and a fundamental understanding of their molecular-level structure is still lacking. We report on the preparation of branched, all-supramolecular polymers based on a combination of a bisureidotoluene building block [N,N′-2,4-bis((2-ethylhexyl)ureido)toluene (EHUT)], which is associated with four-point hydrogen bonding, and three anionic co-monomers featuring one, two, or three sulfonate groups. The co-monomers were designed to serve as a chain stopper, a bifunctional linear comonomer, and a branch point. Whereas combination of EHUT with the singly functionalized co-monomer led to linear supramolecular chains, diffusion and viscosity data indicate that branched supramolecular polymers were obtained when EHUT was combined not only with the triply functionalized molecules but also with the doubly functionalized molecules. Theoretical analysis based on an adaptation of Flory’s theory of branched polymers suggests that in both cases, the interaction of certain EHUT units
with the multiply functionalized co-monomers converted these EHUT units into branch points, which led to substantially reduced viscosities in these systems. The insights gained from this study enable tuning the properties of supramolecular polymers not only by
concentration and temperature but also by introducing appropriately designed molecular additives. This may lead to the development of sophisticated smart materials.