Superhydrophobicity for Antifouling Microfluidic Surfaces
Fouling of surfaces is often problematic in microfluidic devices, particularly when using protein or enzymatic solutions. Various coating methods have been investigated to reduce the tendency for protein molecules to adsorb, mostly relying on hydrophobic surface chemistry or the antifouling ability of polyethylene glycol. Here we present the potential use of superhydrophobic surfaces to not only reduce the amount of surface contamination but also to induce self-cleaning under flow conditions. The methodology is presented in order to prepare superhydrophobic surface coatings having micro- and nanoscale feature dimensions, as well as a step-by-step guide to quantify adsorbed protein down to nanogram levels. The fabrication of these surfaces as coatings via silica sol–gel and copper nano-hair growth is presented, which can be applied within microfluidic devices manufactured from various materials.
Key wordsSuperhydrophobicity Non-wettable Antifouling Protein adsorption
The authors acknowledge financial support from EPSRC (grant EP/D500826/1).
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