Temperature controlled lateral pattern formation in confined polymer thin films

Hao Li Zhang*, David G. Bucknall

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The thermal induced topography change in a model system consisting of a polymer film on a Si substrate capped by a thin metal layer has been studied by using AFM. Regular lateral patterns over large areas were observed on the surface when the system was heated to a sufficiently high temperature. 2D-FFT analysis to the AFM images indicates that the patterns are isotropic and have well defined periodicities. The periodicities of the characteristic patterns are found to depend strongly on the annealing temperature. The study of the kinetics of the formation reveals that such a topography forms almost instantaneously once the critical temperature is reached. It is suggested that this wave-like surface morphology is driven by the thermal expansion coefficient mismatch of the different layers. This method for generating regular wave-like patterns could be used as a general method for patterning various organic materials into micro/nanostructures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)511-515
Number of pages5
JournalChemical Research in Chinese Universities
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2004


  • AFM
  • Polymer thin film
  • Thermal induce
  • Topography change

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry


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