Hierarchically assembled amphiphilic diblock copolymer micelles were exquisitely crafted over large areas by capitalizing on two concurrent self-assembling processes at different length scales, namely, the periodic threads composed of a monolayer or a bilayer of diblock copolymer micelles precisely positioned by flow-enabled self-assembly (FESA) on the microscopic scale and the self-assembly of amphiphilic diblock copolymer micelles into ordered arrays within an individual thread on the nanometer scale. A minimum spacing between two adjacent threads λmin was observed. A model was proposed to rationalize the relationship between the thread width and λmin. Such FESA of diblock copolymer micelles is remarkably controllable and easy to implement. It opens up possibilities for lithography-free positioning and patterning of diblock copolymer micelles for various applications in template fabrication of periodic inorganic nanostructures, nanoelectronics, optoelectronics, magnetic devices, and biotechnology.
Li, Bo, Wei Han, Beibei Jiang, Zhiqun Lin