James E. Whitten, Chemistry
Toward the goal of forming micro- and nano-patterns on surfaces, these researchers have developed an operationally simple and inexpensive templating methodology that involves using patterns of functionalized alkanethiols to tailor the wetting properties of a surface. Patterned arrays of two different functionalized thiols on the same gold substrate have been prepared by patterning a hydrophilic alkanethiol using either microcontact printing or dip-pen nanolithography, followed by backfilling the surface with a hydrophobic alkanethiol. This patterned array has been used as a template for patterning block copolymers comprised of mostly hydrophilic blocks. It is demonstrated that regions of the surface patterned with hydrophilic alkanethiol preferentially adsorb the copolymer, while regions patterned with hydrophobic alkanethiol preferentially dewet it. This methodology has also been used to pattern a wide variety of materials including proteins, amino acids, conjugated oligomers and alkanethiol functionalized gold nanoparticles.