, Volume 15, Issue 2, pp 233-240
Date: 14 Nov 2012

Print-to-print: a facile multi-object micro-patterning technique

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In recent years, micropatterning techniques have gained increasing popularity from a broad range of engineering and biology communities for the promise to establish highly quantitative investigations on miniature biological objects (e.g., cells and bacteria) with spatially defined microenvironments. However, majority of the existing techniques rely on cleanroom-based microfabrication and cannot be easily extended to a regular biological laboratory. In this paper, we present a simple versatile printing-based method, referred to as Print-to-Print (P2P), to form multi-object micropatterns for potential biological applications, along with our recent efforts to deliver out-of-cleanroom microfabrication solutions to the general public (Zhao et al. 2009), (Xing et al. 2011), (Wang et al. 2009), (Pan and Wang 2011), (Zhao et al. 2011). The P2P method employs only a commercially available solid-phase printer and custom-made superhydrophobic films. The entire patterning process does not involve any thermal or chemical treatment. Moreover, the non-contact nature of droplet transferring and printing steps can be highly advantageous for sensitive biological uses. Using the P2P process, a minimal feature resolution of 229 ± 17 μm has been successfully demonstrated. In addition, this approach has been applied to form biological micropatterning on various substrates as well as multi-object co-patterns on the commonly used surfaces. Finally, the reusability of superhydrophobic substrates has also been illustrated.