Wafer-scale synthesis of defined polymer brushes under ambient conditions

Tao Zhang, Yunhao Du, Jana Kalbacova, René Schubel, Raul D. Rodriguez, Tao Chen, Dietrich R.T. Zahn, Rainer Jordan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)


A method is presented that allows for the first time the preparation of highly defined polymer brush coatings on the wafer-scale under ambient conditions (room temperature, exposure to air) from a broad variety of monomers. The discovered high oxygen-tolerance of the surface-initiated Cu(0)-mediated controlled radical polymerization (SI-CuCRP) yields entire wafers homogeneously covered by a polymer brush of linear, high molar mass polymers with narrow dispersities (D = 1.1) at extremely high grafting densities (≈1 chain per nm2). The low-tech and air tolerant method requires only ≲4 mL reaction solution containing a monomer and a ligand between two facing substrates. Thus, the SI-CuCRP is scalable to any surface area with minimal costs and minimal equipment. Despite the simplicity of the method, the high endgroup fidelity of SI-CuCRP is demonstrated by the preparation of a tetrablock copolymer brush which is the first example of a higher order block copolymer brush prepared by any surface-initiated polymerization. Finally, we present a new facile lithographic technique, the copper plate proximity printing (CP3), which relies on the proximity of the bulk copper surface to the initiator-bearing substrate. The CP3 is resist- and development-free and transfers the copper plate profile (of a copper coin) directly into an image composed of a 3D polymer brush.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8176-8183
Number of pages8
JournalPolymer Chemistry
Issue number47
Publication statusPublished - 21 Dec 2015
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Biochemistry
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Organic Chemistry

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