Creating a regular surface pattern on the nanometer scale is important for many technological applications, such as the periodic arrays constructed by optical microlithography that are used as separation media in electrophoresis, and island structures used for high-density magnetic recording devices. Block copolymer patterns can also be used for lithography on length scales below 30 nanometres (refs 3-5). But for such polymers to prove useful for thin-film technologies, chemically patterned surfaces need to be made substantially defect-free over large areas, and with tailored domain orientation and periodicity. So far, control over domain orientation has been achieved by several routes, using electric fields, temperature gradients, patterned substrates and neutral confining surfaces. Here we describe an extremely fast process that leads the formation of two- dimensional periodic thin films having large area and uniform thickness, and which possess vertically aligned cylindrical domains each containing, precisely one crystalline lamella. The process involves rapid solidification of a semicrystalline block copolymer from a crystallizable solvent between glass substrates using directional solidification and epitaxy. The film is both chemically and structurally periodic, thereby providing new opportunities for more selective and versatile nanopatterened surfaces.
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