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Block-copolymer self-assembly: fundamentals and applications

Self-assembly of block copolymers can be used to design and control the shape and dimension of resulting nanostructures. The versatility and scalability of this method makes them highly attractive for the synthesis of advanced materials. They represent a potent platform for fundamental studies at the nanoscale and application-driven investigation.


The symposium focuses on the self-assembly of block copolymers, reporting recent advances in the understanding of their basic properties and latest progresses towards their technological exploitation.

Block copolymers can hierarchically self-assemble into chemically distinct domains with size and periodicity on the order of 10-100 nm, offering a potentially inexpensive route to generate large-area nanostructured materials. A large variety of distinct periodic morphologies (spheres, cylinders, lamellae and gyroids) can be obtained by proper selection of the macromolecules. The final structure characteristics of these materials are dictated by the properties of the elementary block copolymers, like chain length, volume fraction or degree of block incompatibility.

Modern synthetic chemistry offers the possibility to design these macromolecules with very specific length scales and geometries, directly embodying in the macromolecules the “code” that drives their self- assembling process. However, much remains unknown about the ultimate capabilities of block-copolymer self-assembly, especially as new materials push the limits of size, fidelity, and complexity. The understanding of the kinetics and thermodynamics of the block copolymer self-assembly process in the bulk phase as well as in thin films represents a fundamental prerequisite toward the exploitation of these materials as a tool for the fabrication of functional nanostructured materials. Incorporating block copolymer into device fabrication procedures or directly into devices, as active elements, will lead to the development of a new generation of devices fabricated using the fundamental law of nature to our advantage in order to minimize cost and power consumption in the fabrication process.

In the next coming years this area of research, at the intersection between fundamental science and technology, is expected to disclose additional insights in the physics of the self-assembly process and to delineate unforeseen applications for these materials. The workshop is expected to define a platform for the discussion of the main challenges in this research field bringing together scientists, engineers and students working on all the aspects of block copolymer self assembly, from fundamental physics and chemistry issues to the final application in functional devices.

Hot topics to be covered by the symposium:

  • Synthesis of new block copolymer materials
  • Theory, modeling, and simulation of the self-assembly of block copolymers
  • Block copolymer self-assembly for lithographic applications
  • Conductive and ionic block copolymers for electronic, optoelectronic and photovoltaic applications
  • Block copolymers for membrane fabrication
  • Metrology of block copolymers
  • Directed self-assembly of block copolymers
  • The controlled assembly of block copolymers in solutions, in the bulk, and in thin films
  • Kinetics and thermodynamic equilibrium of block copolymers

List of confirmed invited speakers:

  • Jillian M. Buriak, University of Alberta
  • Teruaki Hayakawa, Tokio Institute of Technology
  • Igor I. Potemkin, Lomonosov Moscow State University
  • Yeon Sik Jung, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST)
  • Alexander Boker, Fraunhofer-Institut für Angewandte Polymerforschung IAP
  • Thomas H. Epps III, University of Delaware
  • Pawel Majewski, Warsaw University 
  • Juan de Pablo, Chicago University

List of scientific committee members:

  • Sang Ouk Kim, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST)
  • Ileana A. Zucchi, Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET)
  • Raluca Tiron, Technology Research Institute LETI
  • Gabriele Seguini, Institute of Microelectronics and Microsystems (IMM-CNR)
  • Michele Laus, Università del Piemonte Orientale
  • Christopher K. Ober, Cornell University
  • Peter Müller-Buschbaum, Technische Universität München

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Symposium organizers
Francesc PEREZ-MURANOInstitute of Microelectronics of Barcelona (IMB-CNM, CSIC)

C/ dels Til·lers s/n, Campus de la Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, 08193, Bellaterra, Spain

+34 594 77 00
Guillaume FLEURYUniversity of Bordeaux, LCPO

16 avenue Pey Berland, 33607 Pessac Cedex, France

+33 540 003 085
Michele PEREGOLaboratorio MDM, IMM-CNR

Via Olivetti 2 Agrate Brianza Italy

+39 039 603 6383
Morgan STEFIKUniversity of South Carolina

Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry - 541 Main st, Columbia, SC 29208, USA

+1 803 777 6308