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Small. 2011 Apr 18;7(8):989-1002. doi: 10.1002/smll.201001749. Epub 2011 Mar 14.

Strategies for patterning biomolecules with dip-pen nanolithography.

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Laboratory for Supramolecular Chemistry and Technology, MESA+ Institute for Nanotechnology, University of Twente, P.O. Box 217, 7500AE, Enschede, The Netherlands.


Dip-pen nanolithography (DPN) is an atomic force microscopy (AFM)-based lithography technique, which has the ability to fabricate patterns with a feature size down to approximately 15 nm using both top-down and bottom-up approaches. DPN utilizes the water meniscus formed between an AFM tip and a substrate to transfer ink molecules onto surfaces. A major application of this technique is the fabrication of micro- and nano-arrays of patterned biomolecules. To achieve this goal, a variety of chemical approaches has been used. This review concisely describes the development of DPN in the past decade and presents the related chemical strategies that have been reported to fabricate biomolecular patterns with DPN at micrometer and nanometer scale, classified into direct- and indirect DPN methodologies, discussing tip-functionalization strategies as well.

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