Finding Nano: Where Will DSA Lead Us Next?

Tue, Mar 08, 2016 @ 07:36 AM

In its constant quest to innovate, Brewer Science is continually on the cutting edge of what is next. We are currently combining directed self-assembly (DSA) and lithography to achieve sub–10 nm nanostructures. DSA uses block copolymers to generate arrays of self-assembled shapes such as lines or cylinders; the spatial arrangements of the resulting features can build complex structures for use in products such as cell phones and computer hard drives.

Industries across the globe are taking note of such DSA innovations, aspects of which were reviewed earlier this year at the SPIE Advanced Lithography Conference in San Jose, California. “In today’s consolidating semiconductor landscape, equipment and material suppliers are playing a key role in tackling the scaling challenges and accelerating technology advancements,” notes Hanne Degans of Belgian nanotechnology research consortium imec on “Our progress on DSA process development is a testament to this.”

Brewer Science recently teamed with France-based chemical manufacturer Arkema to produce high-quality DSA materials for use in semiconductor manufacturing. Combining Arkema’s block copolymer technology with Brewer Science’s manufacturing expertise is proving to be a recipe for success for both companies. The goal is to bring DSA from a research level up to mainstream semiconductor production.

While its potential in the manufacturing and semiconductor worlds is vast, DSA technology also continues to generate excitement in the medical world. The possibilities are endless in the biomedical field, including applications such as drug therapies and tissue engineering. DSA technology has the potential to treat tumors via block copolymers that self-assemble into uniform, nano-sized molecule aggregates. “The field of nanobiotechnology—the use of biological systems and molecules to build nanoscale materials—is currently leading to promising applications in diagnostics and therapeutics,” said a 2013 research report on the Royal Society of Chemistry website.

DSA could also be the future of space exploration. NASA is expecting nanotechnology capabilities to have a broad impact on its mission needs, affecting areas such as aeronautics, planetary exploration, and even astronaut health management. Space exploration could be greatly simplified if we were able to build the tools that we need in orbit rather than handling the logistics of sending them from Earth.

Another area of possible advances is 3-D printing, which could enhance the abilities of DSA to make objects that can actually change shape or function on their own, a feat being termed ‘4D printing.’ With

3-D printing access, Brewer Science has an endless realm of possibilities with our research.

Brewer Science continues to make significant advances in identifying new materials that enhance microelectronic devices, enabling them to become smaller, faster, and more powerful. We are excited about where the next generation of DSA will lead our research. Contact one of our DSA experts at to learn more.





Topics: lithography, Directed Self-Assembly, DSA, Arkema, Nanotechnology