New Approaches to Characterizing Nanomaterials

Researcher from University of PaderbornPhysikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB), German National Institute of Metrology, Politecnico di Torino, Italy, and Istituto Nazionale di Ricerca Metrologica (INRiM), Italy’s national metrology institute, have investigated the synthesis of sequential infiltration in nanostructured polymers.

Prof Jörg Linder from the University of Paderborn. Image Credit: University of Paderborn

Thus, they wanted to increase the possibility of characterizing material properties at the smallest scales. Future computer chips, energy conversion and storage techniques, and molecular sieves will all require materials with structures in the range of only a few nanometers. The results of that study have now been featured as a cover article at ACS Applied Polymer Materials.

The team at Paderborn led by researcher Prof. Jörg Lindner works with nanostructured block copolymers, which are interlocking polymer chains that can “self-organize” into regular patterns, facilitating a wide range of applications.

Controlling block copolymer self-organization has developed rapidly in recent years.

Our ability to control the self-organization of block copolymers has made rapid progress in recent years.

Jörg Lindner, Professor, Nano – Nanoanalytic Structuring – Photonic Materials, University of Paderborn

To continue these advances, nondestructive techniques for characterizing material properties had to be expanded as part of a larger initiative consisting of co-authors from partner institutions INRiM, Politecnico di Torino, and PTB.

Block copolymers enable future-oriented processes to further shrink next-generation microelectronic components by enabling the development of very small structures on semiconductor surfaces.

Dr. Lindner stated, “The size of the structure that can be achieved here is limited only by the length of the polymer chains, so it can be even smaller than the painstakingly fabricated structures using conventional techniques. Advances in miniaturization have also created the need for new measurement methods and size standards so that smaller structures can be analyzed.

Block copolymers can also help here—but only after the chemical differences between the types of polymers involved are enhanced by selectively modifying one of the polymers. Selectively integrating aluminum oxide using sequential infiltration synthesis makes it possible to fabricate nanostructures that can be used to test this new measurement process”Dr. Lindner concluded.

Projects 16ENV07 AEROMET and 19ENV08 AEROMET II provided funding for part of this study. These projects receive funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program in addition to the EMPIR program, which is co-financed by Participating Countries.

Journal Reference:

Dude, E. et al. (2023) Developing Quantitative Nondestructive Characterization of Nanomaterials: A Case Study of Block Copolymer Sequential Infiltration Synthesis. ACS Applied Polymer Materials. doi:10.1021/acsapm.2c02094.


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