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Lab Chip. 2008 Apr;8(4):582-6. doi: 10.1039/b716509a. Epub 2008 Feb 28.

Nano-scale superhydrophobicity: suppression of protein adsorption and promotion of flow-induced detachment.

Author information

1
Imperial College London, South Kensington, London, UKSW7 2AZ.

Abstract

Wall adsorption is a common problem in microfluidic devices, particularly when proteins are used. Here we show how superhydrophobic surfaces can be used to reduce protein adsorption and to promote desorption. Hydrophobic surfaces, both smooth and having high surface roughness of varying length scales (to generate superhydrophobicity), were incubated in protein solution. The samples were then exposed to flow shear in a device designed to simulate a microfluidic environment. Results show that a similar amount of protein adsorbed onto smooth and nanometer-scale rough surfaces, although a greater amount was found to adsorb onto superhydrophobic surfaces with micrometer scale roughness. Exposure to flow shear removed a considerably larger proportion of adsorbed protein from the superhydrophobic surfaces than from the smooth ones, with almost all of the protein being removed from some nanoscale surfaces. This type of surface may therefore be useful in environments, such as microfluidics, where protein sticking is a problem and fluid flow is present. Possible mechanisms that explain the behaviour are discussed, including decreased contact between protein and surface and greater shear stress due to interfacial slip between the superhydrophobic surface and the liquid.

PMID:
18369513
DOI:
10.1039/b716509a
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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