Oehrlein and Phaneuf Receive NSF Grant for Nano ResearchProfessors Gottlieb Oehrlein and Ray Phaneuf of MSE were awarded a NSF-Nanoscale Interdisciplinary Research Team grant ($1.2M) for a proposal to investigate "Nanotechnological Manufacturing: Nanostructured Polymers Designed for Plasma/Energetic Beam Templating of Materials". The objective is to establish an atomistic understanding of the interactions of nanostructured polymers with the plasmas and energetic beams used during pattern transfer, and to identify the molecular design parameters and plasma processing parameters required to control patterning at nanoscale dimensions. A strong motivation for this work is the recognition that molecular design of organic materials for emerging nanolithographic approaches based on soft lithography and self-assembly is not constrained by the requirement for transparency at short optical wavelengths. This profound change provides the opportunity to design organic masking materials for greatly enhanced stability in plasma environments. The research project will bring together an interdisciplinary team of academic and industrial researchers, which also includes Professor C. Grant Willson, from The University of Texas, Austin, Professor David Graves, University of California, Berkeley, and Dr. Azar Alizadeh, Polymer Division, General Electric Global Research Center. Through their combined expertise and research capabilities this research team is positioned to significantly advance the cutting edge of controlled nanoscale patterning of materials. This includes design and synthesis of organic imaging materials; nanostructuring the materials using soft lithography and self-assembly, exposing the organic molecules to highly controlled and well-characterized plasma environments and energetic beams, and characterizing and simulating the changes of the chemistry, structure and topography induced by these interactions.
Published February 27, 2006