Controllers for scanning probe instruments can be programmed for automated lithography to generate desired surface arrangements of nanopatterns of organic thin films, such as n-alkanethiol self-assembled monolayers (SAMs). In this report, atomic force microscopy (AFM) methods of lithography known as nanoshaving and nanografting are used to write nanopatterns within organic thin films. Commercial instruments provide software to control the length, direction, speed, and applied force of the scanning motion of the tip. For nanoshaving, higher forces are applied to an AFM tip to selectively remove regions of the matrix monolayer, exposing bare areas of the gold substrate. Nanografting is accomplished by force-induced displacement of molecules of a matrix SAM, followed immediately by the surface self-assembly of n-alkanethiol molecules from solution. Advancements in AFM automation enable rapid protocols for nanolithography, which can be accomplished within the tight time restraints of undergraduate laboratories. Example experiments with scanning probe lithography (SPL) will be described in this report that were accomplished by undergraduate students during laboratory course activities and research internships in the chemistry department of Louisiana State University. Students were introduced to principles of surface analysis and gained “hands-on” experience with nanoscale chemistry.
Comb copolymers comprising a poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) backbone and short, polyethylene oxide (PEO) side chains, PMMA-g-PEO, have been proposed to self-organize at the polymer/water interface, resulting in the quasi-2D confinement of the backbone for chains at the immediate surface of PMMA-g-PEO films (D.J. Irvine et al., Biomacromolecules 2001, 2, 85-94). To directly probe such 2D conformations, combs modified with maleimide groups on the PEO chain ends were blended at 0.5-10 wt% into unmodified PMMA-g-PEO (Mn 142 kg/mol, PDI 3.2, 32 wt% PEO) and cast into films ∼35 nm thick. Films were immersed in aqueous solution to induce orientation of surface molecules, and maleimide-functionalized chains at the film/water interface were labeled with 1.4 nm dia. Au nanoparticles. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) was then used to trace the 2D trajectories of nanoparticle-decorated chains. The distribution of observed chain lengths was in good agreement with that from gel permeation chromatography. The 2D radius of gyration (Rg) calculated from the observed conformations scaled with number of backbone segments (N) as Rg∼N0.69±0.02. Monte Carlo simulations of a 2D melt of comparable chain length distribution yielded a scaling exponent ν=0.67±0.03, suggesting that the deviation from 2D melt behavior arose from polydispersity.
This work describes an original and simple technique for protein immobilization into nanowells, fabricated using nanopatterned-array fabrication methods, while ensuring the protein retains the normal biological activity. Nanosphere-lithography was used to fabricate a nanowell array with nanowells that were 100 nm in diameter and a periodicity of 500 nm. The base of the nanowells was gold and the surrounding material was silicon dioxide. The different surface chemistries of these materials were used to attach two different self-assembled monolayers (SAM) with different affinities for the protein used here, cytochrome P450 (P450). The nanowell SAM, a methyl terminated thiol, had high affinity for the P450. The surrounding SAM, a polyethylene glycol silane, displayed very little affinity toward the P450 isozyme CYP2C9, as demonstrated by x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy and surface plasmon resonance. The regularity of the nanopatterned array was examined by scanning electron microscopy and atomic force microscopy. P450-mediated metabolism experiments of known substrates demonstrated that the nanowell bound P450 enzyme exceeded its normal activity, as compared to P450 solutions, when bound to the methyl terminated self-assembled monolayer. The nanopatterned array chips bearing P450 display long term stability and give reproducible results making them potentially useful for high throughput screening assays or as nanoelectrode arrays.
Nanowell array; Self-assembled monolayer; cytochrome P450
Self-assembled monolayers (SAMs) of 4'-methylbiphenyl-4-thiol (MBP0) adsorbed on polycrystalline gold substrates served as templates to control electrochemical deposition of Cu structures from acidic solution, and enabled the subsequent lift-off of the metal structures by attachment to epoxy glue. By exploiting the negative-resist behaviour of MBP0, the SAM was patterned by means of electron-beam lithography. For high deposition contrast a two-step procedure was employed involving a nucleation phase around −0.7 V versus Cu2+/Cu and a growth phase at around −0.35 V versus Cu2+/Cu. Structures with features down to 100 nm were deposited and transferred with high fidelity. By using substrates with different surface morphologies, AFM measurements revealed that the roughness of the substrate is a crucial factor but not the only one determining the roughness of the copper surface that is exposed after lift-off.
electrochemical nanotechnology; electrodeposition; lithography; metallic nanostructures; self-assembled monolayers; thiols
In scaffold-based tissue engineering, the fabrication process is important for producing suitable microstructures for seeded cells to grow and reformulate. In this paper, we present a new approach to scaffold fabrication by combining the solid-state foaming and the immiscible polymer blending method. The proposed approach has the advantage of being versatile and able to create a wide range of pore size and porosity. The proposed method is studied with polylactic acid (PLA) and polystyrene (PS) blends. The interconnected porous structure was created by first foaming the PLA/PS blend and then extracting the PS phase. The solid-state foaming experiments were conducted under various conditions to achieve the desired pore sizes. It is shown that the PS phase of the PLA/PS blend can be extracted much faster in the foamed samples and the pore size of the scaffolds can be easily controlled with proper gas foaming parameters. The average pore size achieved in the foaming process ranged from 20-70 μm. After PS extraction, both pore size and porosity can be further improved. For example, the pore size and porosity increased from 48 μm and 49% to 59 μm and 67%, respectively, after the PS extraction process. The fabricated porous scaffolds were used to culture human osteoblast cells. Cells grew well and gradually formed a fibrous structure. The combined solid-state foaming and immiscible polymer blending method provides a new technique for fabricating tissue engineering scaffolds.
Immiscible polymer blends; Solid-state foaming; Tissue engineering scaffolds; Osteoblast cells; Polylactic acid; Polystyrene
In this research, nanoimprint lithography (NIL) was used for patterning crystalline zinc oxide (ZnO) nanorods on the silicon substrate. To fabricate nano-patterned ZnO nanorods, patterning of an n-octadecyltrichlorosilane (OTS) self-assembled monolayers (SAMs) on SiO2 substrate was prepared by the polymer mask using NI. The ZnO seed layer was selectively coated only on the hydrophilic SiO2 surface, not on the hydrophobic OTS SAMs surface. The substrate patterned with the ZnO seed layer was treated with the oxygen plasma to oxidize the silicon surface. It was found that the nucleation and initial growth of the crystalline ZnO were proceeded only on the ZnO seed layer, not on the silicon oxide surface. ZnO photoluminescence spectra showed that ZnO nanorods grown from the seed layer treated with plasma showed lower intensity than those untreated with plasma at 378 nm, but higher intensity at 605 nm. It is indicated that the seed layer treated with plasma produced ZnO nanorods that had a more oxygen vacancy than those grown from seed layer untreated with plasma. Since the oxygen vacancies on ZnO nanorods serve as strong binding sites for absorption of various organic and inorganic molecules. Consequently, a nano-patterning of the crystalline ZnO nanorods grown from the seed layer treated with plasma may give the versatile applications for the electronics devices.
An alternative approach for fabricating a protein array at nanoscale is suggested with a capability of characterization and/or localization of multiple components on a nanoarray. Fluorescent micro- and nanobeads each conjugated with different antibodies are assembled by size-dependent self-assembly (SDSA) onto nanometer wells that were created on a polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) substrate by electron beam lithography (EBL). Antibody-conjugated beads of different diameters are added serially and electrostatically attached to corresponding wells through electrostatic attraction between the charged beads (confirmed by zeta potential analysis) and exposed p-doped silicon substrate underneath the PMMA layer. This SDSA method is enhanced by vibrated-wire-guide manipulation of droplets on the PMMA surface containing nanometer wells. Saturation rates of antibody-conjugated beads to the nanometer patterns are up to 97% under one component and 58–70% under two components nanoarrays. High-density arrays (up to 40,000 wells) could be fabricated, which can also be multi-component. Target detection utilizes fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) from fluorescent beads to fluorescent-tagged secondary antibodies to Octamer-4 (Oct4), which eliminates the need for multiple steps of rinsing. The 100 nm green beads are covalently conjugated with anti-Oct4 to capture Oct4 peptides (39 kDa); where the secondary anti-Oct4 and F(ab)2 fragment of anti-gIgG tagged with phycoerythrin are then added to function as an indicator of Oct4 detection. FRET signals are detected through confocal microscopes, and further confirmed by Fluorolog3 spectrofluorometer. The success rates of detecting Oct4 are 32% and 14% of the beads in right place under one and two component nanoarrays, respectively. Ratiometric FRET is used to quantify the amount of Oct4 peptides per each bead, which is estimated about 2 molecules per bead.
E-beam lithography; Nanometer pattern generation system; Fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET); Wire-guide droplet manipulation
The fabrication and characterization of a novel cyclic olefin copolymer (COC) waveguide embedded in a poly(methyl methacrylate), PMMA, fluidic chip configured in a multi-channel format with an integrated monolithic prism for evanescent fluorescence excitation are reported. The fabrication approach allowed the embedded waveguide to be situated orthogonal to a series of fluidic channels within the PMMA wafer to sample fluorescent solutions in these channels using the evanescence properties of the waveguide. Construction of the device was achieved using several fabrication techniques including high precision micromilling, hot embossing and stenciling of a polymer melt to form the waveguide and coupling prism. A waveguide channel was fabricated in the fluidic chip's cover plate, also made from PMMA, and was loaded with a COC solution using a pre-cast poly(dimethylsiloxane), PDMS, stencil containing a prism-shaped recess. The PMMA substrate contained multiple channels (100 μm wide × 30 μm deep with a pitch of 100 μm) that were situated orthogonal to the waveguide to allow penetration of the evanescent field into the sampling solution. The optical properties of the waveguide in terms of its transmission properties and penetration depth of the evanescent field in the adjacent solution were evaluated. Finally, the device was used for laser-induced fluorescence evanescent excitation of a dye solution hydrodynamically flowing through multiple microfluidic channels in the chip and processed using a microscope equipped with a charge-coupled device (CCD) for parallel readout. The device and optical system were able to image 11 channels simultaneously with a limit-of-detection of 7.1 × 10−20 mol at a signal-to-noise ratio of 2. The waveguide was simple to manufacture and could be scaled to illuminate much higher channel numbers making it appropriate for high-throughput measurements using evanescent excitation.
Gene transfer has many potential applications in basic and applied sciences. In vitro, DNA delivery can be enhanced by increasing the concentration of DNA in the cellular microenvironment through immobilization of DNA to a substrate that supports cell adhesion. Substrate-mediated delivery describes the immobilization of DNA, complexed with cationic lipids or polymers, to a biomaterial or substrate. As surface properties are critical to the efficiency of the surface delivery approach, self-assembled monolayers (SAMs) of alkanethiols on gold were used to correlate surface chemistry of the substrate to binding, release, and transfection of non-specifically immobilized complexes. Surface hydrophobicity and ionization were found to mediate both DNA complex immobilization and transfection, but had no effect on complex release. Additionally, SAMs were used in conjunction with soft lithographic techniques to imprint substrates with specific patterns, resulting in patterned DNA complex deposition and transfection, with transfection efficiencies in the patterns nearing 40%. Controlling the interactions between complexes and substrates, with the potential for patterned delivery, can be used to locally enhance or regulate gene transfer, with applications to tissue engineering scaffolds and transfected cell arrays.
Self-assembled monolayers; Gene delivery; Reverse transfection; Solid-phase delivery; Substrate mediated
The conductive blend of the poly (3,4-ethylene dioxythiophene) and polystyrene sulfonated acid (PEDOT-PSS) polymers were doped with Methyl Red (MR) dye in the acid form and were used as the basis for a chemiresistor sensor for detection of ethanol vapor. This Au | Polymers-dye blend | Au device was manufactured by chemical vapor deposition and spin-coating, the first for deposition of the metal electrodes onto a glass substrate, and the second for preparation of the organic thin film forming ∼1.0 mm2 of active area. The results obtained are the following: (i) electrical resistance dependence with atmospheres containing ethanol vapor carried by nitrogen gas and humidity; (ii) sensitivity at 1.15 for limit detection of 26.25 ppm analyte and an operating temperature of 25 °C; and (iii) the sensing process is quickly reversible and shows very a low power consumption of 20 μW. The thin film morphology of ∼200 nm thickness was analyzed by Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM), where it was observed to have a peculiarly granulometric surface favorable to adsorption. This work indicates that PEDOT-PSS doped with MR dye to compose blend film shows good performance like resistive sensor.
chemiresistor sensor; PEDOT-PSS; MR dye; ethanol vapor
There is a continuing drive in microfluidics to transfer microchip systems from the more expensive glass microchips to cheaper polymer microchips. Here, we investigate using polyelectrolyte multilayers (PEM) as a coating system for poly (methylmethacrylate) (PMMA) microchips to improve their functionality. The multilayer system was prepared by layer-on-layer depositon of poly (diallydimethylammonium) chloride (PDAD) and polystyrene sulfonate (PSS). Practical aspects of coating PMMA microchips were explored. The multilayer buildup process was monitored using EOF measurements, and the stability of the PEM was investigated. The performance of the PEM-PMMA microchip was compared to those of a standard glass microchip and a PEM-glass microchip in terms of electroosmotic flow and separating two fluorescent dyes. Several key findings in the development of the multilayer coating procedure for PMMA chips are also presented. It was found that, with careful preparation, a PEM-PMMA microchip can be prepared that has properties comparable - and in some cases superior - to those of a standard glass microchip.
Bioactive glass (BG) can directly bond to living bone without fibrous tissue encapsulation. Key mechanistic steps of BG’s activity are attributed to calcium phosphate formation, surface hydroxylation and fibronectin (FN) adsorption. In the present study, self-assembled monolayers (SAMs) of alkanesilanes with different surface chemistry (OH, NH2, and COOH) were used as a model system to mimic BG’s surface activity. Calcium phosphate (Ca-P) was formed on SAMs by immersion in a solution which simulates the electrolyte content of physiological fluids. FN adsorption kinetics and monolayer coverage was determined on SAMs with or without Ca-P coating. The surface roughness was also examined on these substrates before and after FN adsorption. The effects of FN-adsorbed, Ca-P coated SAMs on the function of MC3T3-E1 were evaluated by cell growth, expression of alkaline phosphatase activity, and actin cytoskeleton formation. We demonstrate that, although the FN monolayer coverage and the rms roughness are similar on −OH and −COOH terminated SAMs with or without Ca-P coating, higher levels of ALP activity, more actin cytoskeleton formation and more cell growth are obtained on −OH and −COOH terminated SAMs with Ca-P coating. In addition, although the FN monolayer coverage is higher on Ca-P coated −NH2 terminated SAMs and SiOx surfaces, higher levels of ALP activity and more cell growth are obtained on Ca-P coated −OH and −COOH terminated SAMs. Thus with same Ca-P coatings, different surface functional groups have different effects on the function of osteoblastic cells. These findings represent new insights into the mechanism of bioactivity of BG and, thereby, may lead to designing superior constructs for bone grafting.
self assembled monolayers; calcium phosphate; protein adsorption; cell attachment; proliferation; alkaline phosphatase activity
Micro- and nanofabrication techniques have revolutionized the pharmaceutical and medical fields as they offer the possibility for highly reproducible mass-fabrication of systems with complex geometries and functionalities, including novel drug delivery systems and bionsensors. The principal micro- and nanofabrication techniques are described, including photolithography, soft lithography, film deposition, etching, bonding, molecular self assembly, electrically induced nanopatterning, rapid prototyping, and electron, X-ray, colloidal monolayer, and focused ion beam lithography. Application of these techniques for the fabrication of drug delivery and biosensing systems including injectable, implantable, transdermal, and mucoadhesive devices is described.
microfabrication; nanofabrication; medical devices; drug delivery; biosensors
A highly soluble pyromellitic diimide-based polymer was obtained through imidization polymerization. The novel architecture features diimide subunits linked alternately at 3-6 and N,N′ positions. The polymer is highly transparent in the near ultraviolet-visible regions. Smooth and uniform thin-films were obtained through spin-coating even after blending the polymer with PCBM in 1:9 polymer:PCBM weight ratio. While the polymer itself has modest electron mobility in typical bottom-gate top-contact OFETs, an electron mobility of 3 × 10−3 cm2V−1s−1 was achieved for the blend, which increased to 10−2 cm2V−1s−1 on exposure to propylamine. Thus, polyimides are demonstrated as promising binder materials for solution-processible n-channel semiconductor blends, of which very few examples are known.
Marine mussels anchor to a variety of surfaces by secreting liquid proteins that harden and form water-resistant bonds to a variety of surfaces. Studies have revealed that these mussel adhesive proteins contain an unusual amino acid, 3,4-dihydroxy-L-phenylalanine (DOPA), which is believed to be responsible for the cohesive and adhesive properties of these proteins. To separate the cohesive and adhesive roles of DOPA, we incorporated DOPA into the midblock of poly(methyl methacrylate)–poly(methacrylic acid)–poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA–PMAA–PMMA) triblock copolymers. Self-assembled hydrogels were obtained by exposing triblock copolymer solutions in dimethyl sulfoxide to water vapor. As water diffused into the solution, the hydrophobic end blocks formed aggregates that were bridged by the water-soluble midblocks. Strong hydrogels were formed with polymer weight fractions between 0.01 and 0.4 and with shear moduli between 1 and 5 kPa. The adhesive properties of the hydrogels on TiO2 surfaces were investigated by indentation with a flat-ended cylindrical punch. At pH values of 6 and 7.4, the fully protonated DOPA groups were highly adhesive to the TiO2 surfaces, giving values of ≈2 J/m2 for the interfacial fracture energy, which we believe corresponds to the cohesive fracture energy of the hydrogel. At these pH values, the DOPA groups are hydrophobic and have a tendency to aggregate, so contact times of 10 or 20 min are required for these high values of the interfacial strength to be observed. At a pH of 10, the DOPA groups were hydrophilic and highly swellable, but less adhesive gels were formed. Oxidation of DOPA groups, a process that is greatly accelerated at a pH of 10, decreased the adhesive performance of the hydrogels even further.
Particle lithography offers generic capabilities for the high-throughput fabrication of nanopatterns from organosilane self-assembled monolayers, which offers the opportunity to study surface-based chemical reactions at the molecular level. Nanopatterns of octadecyltrichlorosilane (OTS) were prepared on surfaces of Si(111) using designed protocols of particle lithography combined with either vapor deposition, immersion, or contact printing. Changing the physical approaches for applying molecules to masked surfaces produced OTS nanostructures with different shapes and heights. Ring nanostructures, nanodots and uncovered pores of OTS were prepared using three protocols, with OTS surface coverage ranging from 10% to 85%. Thickness measurements from AFM cursor profiles were used to evaluate the orientation and density of the OTS nanostructures. Differences in the thickness and morphology of the OTS nanostructures are disclosed based on atomic force microscopy (AFM) images. Images of OTS nanostructures prepared on Si(111) that were generated by the different approaches provide insight into the self-assembly mechanism of OTS, and particularly into the role of water and solvents in hydrolysis and silanation.
atomic force microscopy; nanopatterning; nanostructures; octadecyltrichlorosilane; particle lithography; self-assembled monolayer; self-assembly
Extracorporeal filter cartridges, filled with activated carbon bead (ACB) adsorbent, have been used for removal of overdosed cancer drugs from the blood. Coatings on adsorbent matrices, poly (methyl methacrylate) (PMMA)/activated carbon bead and PMMA/chitosan/heparin/ACB composites, were tested to improve their biocompatibility and blood compatibility. PMMA coating on ACBs was accomplished in a straightforward manner using a PMMA solution in ethyl acetate. One-step hybrid coating of ACBs with PMMA-anticoagulant heparin required the use of acetone and water co-solvents. Multi-layer coatings with three components, PMMA, chitosan, and heparin involved three steps: PMMA was first coated on ACBs; chitosan was then coated on the PMMA coated surface; and finally heparin was covalently attached to the chitosan coating. Surface morphologies were studied by scanning electron microscopy. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy confirmed −SO3− group. Adsorption, of a chemotherapy drug (doxorubicin) from both water and PBS, by the coated ACBs was examined. The adsorption isotherm curves were fitted using the Freundlich model. The current adsorption system might find potential applications in the removal of high dose regional chemotherapy drugs while maintaining high efficiency, biocompatibility, and blood compatibility.
doxorubicin; drug removal; carbon beads; adsorption; heparin coating; blood compatibility
Constructing multicomponent protein structures that match the complexity of those found in Nature is essential for the next generation of medical materials. In this report, a versatile method to precisely arrange multicomponent protein nanopatterns in two-dimensional single-layer or three-dimensional multilayer formats using electron beam lithography is described. Eight arm poly(ethylene glycol)s were modified at the chain ends with either biotin, maleimide, aminooxy, or nitrilotriacetic acid. Analysis by 1H NMR spectroscopy revealed that the reactions were efficient and that end group conversions were 91-100%. The polymers were then cross-linked onto Si surfaces using electron beams to form micron sized patterns of the functional groups. Proteins with biotin binding sites, a free cysteine, an N-terminal α-oxoamide, and a histidine tag, respectively, were then incubated with the substrate in aqueous solutions without the addition of any other reagents. By fluorescence microscopy experiments it was determined that proteins reacted site-specifically with the exposed functional groups to form protein micropatterns. Multicomponent nanoscale protein patterns were then fabricated. Different PEGs with orthogonal reactivity were sequentially patterned on the same chip. Simultaneous assembly of two different proteins from a mixture of the biomolecules formed the multicomponent two dimensional patterns. Atomic force microscopy demonstrated that nanometer sized patterns of polymer were formed and fluorescence microscopy demonstrated that side-by-side patterns of the different proteins were obtained. Moreover, multilayer PEG fabrication produced micron and nanometer sized patterns of one functional group on top of the other. Precise three-dimensional arrangements of different proteins were then realized.
We have created nanospirals by self-assembly during droplet evaporation. The nanospirals, 60–70 nm in diameter, formed when solvent mixtures of methanol and m-cresol were used. In contrast, spin coating using only methanol as the solvent produced epitaxial films of stripe nanopatterns and using only m-cresol disordered structure. Due to the disparity in vapor pressure between the two solvents, droplets of m-cresol solution remaining on the substrate serve as templates for the self-assembly of carboxylic acid molecules, which in turn allows the visualization of solution droplet evaporation one molecule at a time.
Atomic-force microscopy; Interfaces; Nanostructures; Patterning; Templates; Self-assembly
Bioactive, patterned micro- and nanoscale surfaces that can be spatially engineered for three-dimensional ligand presentation and sustained release of signaling molecules represent a critical advance for the development of next-generation diagnostic and therapeutic devices. Lithography is ideally suited to patterning such surfaces due to its precise, easily scalable, high-throughput nature; however, to date polymers patterned by these techniques have not demonstrated the capacity for sustained release of bioactive agents. We demonstrate here a class of lithographically-defined, electropolymerized polymers with monodisperse micro- and nanopatterned features capable of sustained release of bioactive drugs and proteins. We show that precise control can be achieved over the loading capacity and release rates of encapsulated agents and illustrate this aspect using a fabricated surface releasing a model antigen (ovalbumin) and a cytokine (interleukin-2) for induction of a specific immune response. We further demonstrate the ability of this technique to enable three-dimensional control over cellular encapsulation. The efficacy of the described approach is buttressed by its simplicity, versatility, and reproducibility, rendering it ideally suited for biomaterials engineering.
Bionanotechnology; Biomedical Applications; Drug Delivery; Tissue Engineering; Microstructures
Micropatterns of different biomaterials with micro- and nanoscale features and defined spatial arrangement on a single substrate are useful tools for studying cellular-level interactions, and recent reports have highlighted the strong influence of scaffold compliance in determining cell behavior. In this paper, a simple yet versatile and precise patterning technique for the fabrication of interdigitated micropatterns of nanocomposite multilayer coatings on a single substrate is demonstrated through a combination of lithography and layer-by-layer (LbL) assembly processes, termed as Polymer Surface Micromachining (PSM). The first nanofilm pattern is constructed using lithography, followed by LbL multilayer assembly and lift-off, and the process is repeated with optical alignment to obtain interdigitated patterns on the same substrate. Thus, the method is analogous to surface micromachining, except that the deposition materials are polymers and biological materials that are used to produce multilayer nanocomposite structures. A key feature of the multilayers is the capability to tune properties such as stiffness by appropriate selection of materials, deposition conditions, and post-deposition treatments. Two- and four-component systems on glass coverslips are presented to demonstrate the versatility of the approach to construct precisely-defined, homogeneous nanofilm patterns. In addition, an example of a complex system used as a testbed for in vitro cell adhesion and growth is provided: micropatterns of poly(sodium 4-styrenesulfonate)/poly-L-lysine hydrobromide (PSS/PLL) and secreted phospholipase A2/poly(ethyleneimine) (PEI/sPLA2) multilayers. The interdigitated square nanofilm array patterns were obtained on a single coverslip with poly(diallyldimethyl ammonium chloride) (PDDA) as a cell-repellent background. Cell culture experiments show that cortical neurons respond and bind specifically to the sPLA2 micropatterns in competition with PLL micropatterns. The fabrication and the initial biological results on the nanofilm micropatterns support the usefulness of the technique for use in studies aimed at elucidating important biological structure-function relationships, but the applicability of the fabrication method is much broader and may impact electronics, photonics, and chemical microsystems.
Sum frequency generation vibrational spectroscopy (SFG-VS) has been applied to investigate the selective crystallization of two forms of acetaminophen (ACM) on polymer surfaces. To our knowledge this is the first account of SFG-VS being applied to study a polymer-crystal interface. SFG elucidates the molecular level interactions governing phase selection at this buried interface, providing insight to the process of polymer-induced heteronucleation (PIHn) in solution as well as from the vapor phase. ACM heteronucleates from supersaturated aqueous solution in the metastable orthorhombic crystal form, on poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) surfaces, whereas the thermodynamically stable monoclinic crystal form is observed to form on poly(n-butyl methacrylate) (PBMA) surfaces. When the ACM crystals were grown by sublimation, only the monoclinic form was observed on both PMMA and PBMA. SFG-VS results indicate that hydrogen bonds are formed between PMMA C=O groups and the orthorhombic ACM crystals at the PMMA-ACM interface. At PBMA-monoclinic ACM interfaces, no hydrogen bond formation was observed. This research demonstrates that SFG-VS can be used to probe molecular interactions at the polymer-crystal interfaces. Understanding the interfacial molecular interactions will ultimately provide a rational basis to improve methods for polymorph discovery and selection based on heteronucleation on polymer surfaces.
Synthetic biodegradable polymers serve as temporary substrates that accommodate cell infiltration and tissue in-growth in regenerative medicine. To allow tissue in-growth and nutrient transport, traditional three-dimensional (3D) scaffolds must be prefabricated with an interconnected porous structure. Here we demonstrated for the first time a unique polymer erosion process through which polymer matrices evolve from a solid coherent film to an assemblage of microspheres with an interconnected 3D porous structure. This polymer system was developed on the highly versatile platform of polyphosphazene-polyester blends. Co-substituting a polyphosphazene backbone with both hydrophilic glycylglycine dipeptide and hydrophobic 4-phenylphenoxy group generated a polymer with strong hydrogen bonding capacity. Rapid hydrolysis of the polyester component permitted the formation of 3D void space filled with self-assembled polyphosphazene spheres. Characterization of such self-assembled porous structures revealed macropores (10-100 μm) between spheres as well as micro- and nanopores on the sphere surface. A similar degradation pattern was confirmed in vivo using a rat subcutaneous implantation model. 12 weeks of implantation resulted in an interconnected porous structure with 82-87% porosity. Cell infiltration and collagen tissue in-growth between microspheres observed by histology confirmed the formation of an in situ 3D interconnected porous structure. It was determined that the in situ porous structure resulted from unique hydrogen bonding in the blend promoting a three-stage degradation mechanism. The robust tissue in-growth of this dynamic pore forming scaffold attests to the utility of this system as a new strategy in regenerative medicine for developing solid matrices that balance degradation with tissue formation.
Polymeric materials; Composite materials; Thin films; Tissue engineering; Biomedical applications
This work describes the performance of poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) microfluidic DNA purification devices with embedded microfabricated posts, functionalized with chitosan. PMMA is attractive as a substrate for creating high surface area (SA) posts for DNA capture because X-ray lithography can be exploited for extremely reproducible fabrication of high SA structures. However, this advantage is offset by the delicate nature of the posts when attempting bonding to create a closed system, and by the challenge of functionalizing the PMMA surface with a group that invokes DNA binding. Methods are described for covalent functionalization of the post surfaces with chitosan that binds DNA in a pH-dependent manner, as well as for bonding methods that avoid damaging the underlying post structure. A number of geometric posts designs are explored, with the goal of identifying post structures that provide the requisite surface area without a concurrent rise in fluidic resistance that promotes device failure. Initial proof-of-principle is shown by recovery of prepurified human genomic DNA (hgDNA), with real-world utility illustrated by purifying hgDNA from whole blood and demonstrating it to be PCR-amplifiable.
We present a novel micro-macro hybrid soft-lithography master (MMHSM) fabrication technique where microdevices having both microscale and macroscale features can be replicated with a single soft-lithography step. A poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) master having macroscale structures was first created by a bench-top milling machine. An imprinting master mold having micro-scale structures was then imprinted on the PMMA surface through a hot-embossing process to obtain a PMMA master mold. A poly(dimethylsiloxane) (PDMS) master was then replicated from this PMMA master through a standard soft-lithography process. This process allowed both microscale (height: 3–20 μm, width: 20–500 μm) and macroscale (height: 3.5 mm, width: 1.2–7 mm) structures to co-exist on the PDMS master mold, from which final PDMS devices could be easily stamped out in large quantities. Microfluidic structures requiring macroscale dimensions in height, such as reservoirs or fluidic tubing interconnects, could be directly built into PDMS microfluidic devices without the typically used manual punching process. This significantly reduced alignment errors and time required for such manual fabrication steps. In this paper, we successfully demonstrated the utility of this novel hybrid fabrication method by fabricating a PDMS microfluidic device with 40 built-in fluidic interfaces and a PDMS multi-compartment neuron co-culture platform, where millimeter-scale compartments are connected via arrays of 20 μm wide and 200 μm long microfluidic channels. The resulting structures were characterized for the integrity of the transferred pattern sizes and the surface roughness using scanning electron microscopy and optical profilometry.
Soft-lithography; Fluidic interface; PDMS; Cast molding