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Langmuir. 2008 Nov 18;24(22):12748-53. doi: 10.1021/la8021694. Epub 2008 Oct 25.

A lithography-free pathway for chemical microstructuring of macromolecules from aqueous solution based on wrinkling.

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Physical Chemistry Department, University of Bayreuth, Bayreuth, Germany.


We report on a novel lithography-free method for obtaining chemical submicron patterns of macromolecules on flat substrates. The approach is an advancement of the well-known microcontact printing scheme: While for classical microcontact printing lithographically produced masters are needed, we show that controlled wrinkling can serve as an alternative pathway to producing such masters. These can even show submicron periodicities. We expect upscaling to larger areas to be considerably simpler than that for existing techniques, as wrinkling results in a macroscopic deformation process that is not limited in terms of substrate size. Using this approach, we demonstrate successful printing of aqueous solutions of polyelectrolytes and proteins. We study the effectiveness of the stamping process and its limits in terms of periodicities and heights of the stamps' topographical features. We find that critical wavelengths are well below 355 nm and critical amplitudes are below 40 nm and clarify the failure mechanism in this regime. This will permit further optimization of the approach in the future.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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