Nanoscopic cylindrical dual concentric and lengthwise block brush terpolymers as covalent preassembled high-resolution and high-sensitivity negative-tone photoresist materials.
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We describe a high-resolution, high-sensitivity negative-tone photoresist technique that relies on bottom-up preassembly of differential polymer components within cylindrical polymer brush architectures that are designed to align vertically on a substrate and allow for top-down single-molecule line-width imaging. By applying cylindrical diblock brush terpolymers (DBTs) with a high degree of control over the synthetic chemistry, we achieved large areas of vertical alignment of the polymers within thin films without the need for supramolecular assembly processes, as required for linear block copolymer lithography. The specially designed chemical compositions and tuned concentric and lengthwise dimensions of the DBTs enabled high-sensitivity electron-beam lithography of patterns with widths of only a few DBTs (sub-30 nm line-width resolution). The high sensitivity of the brush polymer resists further facilitated the generation of latent images without postexposure baking, providing a practical approach for controlling acid reaction/diffusion processes in photolithography.