Micropatterning of polymer brushes: Grafting from dewetting polymer films for biological applications

Andrew Michael Telford, Laurence Meagher, Veronica Glattauer, Thomas R Gengenbach, Christopher D Easton, Chiara Neto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


In this novel platform, a micropatterned polymer brush was obtained by grafting poly(poly(ethylene glycol) methyl ether methacrylate) (poly(PEGMA)) from a thin macroinitiator film using atom transfer radical polymerization (ATRP). A pattern of holes was formed in the macroinitiator film by taking advantage of its spontaneous dewetting above the glass transition temperature from a bottom polystyrene film, driven by unfavorable intermolecular forces. Patterning by dewetting can be achieved at length-scales from a few hundred nanometers to several tens of micrometers, by simply thermally annealing the bilayer above the glass transition temperature of the polymer. This approach is substrate-independent, as polymer films can be cast onto surfaces of different size, shape, or material. As a demonstration of its potential, proteins, and individual cells were attached on targeted bioadhesive polystyrene areas of the micropatterns within poly(PEGMA) protein-repellent brushes. We anticipate this approach will be suitable for the patterning of brushes, especially for biomedical applications such as in the study of single cells and of cell cocultures.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2989 - 2996
Number of pages8
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes

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