Self-immolating or unzipping polymers can amplify a response in a cascading fashion.
Above their ceiling temperature (which can range from -60C to over 400C), polymers are thermodynamically unstable and wish to depolymerize to their monomeric components. However, typically polymers are kinetically stuck in their polymerized form.
The goal of this project is to utilize acid-sensitive, self-developing polymers for selective removal of one polymer domain in an assembled block copolymer thin film. Certain polymers tend to depolymerize when exposed to a specific stimulus (acid catalyst), and the by-products of depolymerization are typically volatile and removed easily using heat. By incorporating this type of polymer into a BCP structure, a 3-dimensional relief image can be formed spontaneously on a substrate without the use of damaging wet development processes or low selectivity physical etch (RIE) processes.