Nanoscale Networks of Metal Oxides by Polymer Imprinting and Templating for Future Adaptable Electronics

Alexandra Berg, Harry Jonkman, Katja Loos, Giuseppe Portale, Beatriz Noheda*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
18 Downloads (Pure)


While network formation is prevalent in nature, networks are generally not expected in inorganic structures. Exceptions are those cases in which surface states become important, such as nanoparticles. However, even in these cases, the morphology of these networks is difficult to control and they show a large degree of disorder. In this work, we show that highly ordered and interconnected nanoscale networks of functional metal oxides can be fabricated by a combination of polymer imprinting and polymer templating through solution processable methods. We report the fabrication of a number of functional oxide networks (i.e., BiFeO3, SrTiO3, La0.7Ca0.3MnO3, and HfO2) from solution, showing that all the oxide materials tried so far are able to follow the self-assembled network morphology dictated by the polymer structure. These networks were characterized for the overall structure by scanning electron microscopy and atomic force microscopy (AFM). Grazing incidence small angle X-ray scattering showed a good imprint quality on the mm2 scale for the combined networks, which is challenging given that multiple processing steps were involved during the fabrication. The material stoichiometries were investigated by X-ray photoemission spectroscopy and the crystal phases by grazing incidence wide angle X-ray scattering. When electronic functionality is anticipated, the networks behave as expected: conducting AFM on the La0.7Ca0.3MnO3 networks confirmed the conductive character of this composition; and piezoresponse force microscopy of the BiFeO3 network is consistent with the presence of ferroelectric behavior. These nanoscale networks show promise for future applications in adaptable electronics, such as neuromorphic computing or brain-inspired information processing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13349-13360
Number of pages12
JournalACS Applied Nano Materials
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 23-Sept-2022


  • block copolymers
  • metal oxides
  • network
  • polymer imprinting
  • polymer templating
  • self-assembly

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