Project summary

Block copolymers (BCPs) are comprised of two distinct, but covalently linked polymer chains, which under certain circumstances form structures that are on the order of nanometers. By controlling the orientation and/or morphology of block copolymer domains it is possible to use them as a nanofabrication template in a range of applications, including advanced lithography, next generation batteries, high density magnetic storage media, membranes and metamaterials. A range of projects are available that will involve synthesis and/or morphological characterisation of block copolymers to advance the field of nanofabrication. Industry collaborators for some projects may include The Dow Chemical Company.  Block copolymers can also be used to tune interfacial interactions.

The interfaces of materials with their immediate environment can be crucial for their ultimate performance in a gamut of applications, which include biomaterials, sensors, coatings (eg. paint) and nanofabrication. At the same time it is important for a material to have appropriate bulk properties, such as strength, durability, toughness and biodegradability, where in many cases the bulk and surface properties are incompatible or the cost is prohibitive. One approach to achieve the desired performance is to modify the surface properties of a material with appropriate bulk properties. A range of projects are available for investigating novel methods of surface modification and/or targeting novel applications.

Block copolymer with perpendicular orientation after plasma etch


Research Group

Whittaker Group


Nanomaterials, Energy, Materials, Manufacturing, Self assembly, Block copolymers, Surface interactions, Nanofabrication, Nanostructure, Morphology, Coatings, Lithography

Project members

Lead Investigator

Professor Andrew Whittaker

Senior Group Leader
Whittaker Group

Associate Professor Idriss Blakey

VC's Research and Teaching Fellow
Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology