Local nanocoatings

Surfix's technology enables local control of surface properties, used for production of different custom nanocoatings in many different application areas.

The fast photochemical nanocoating process allows local formation of the nanocoating. Patterning is thus achieved in a single step, without the need for etching or other additional post-coating steps.

For many applications, local control of surface properties offers great benefits. By creating patterns of hydrophobic and hydrophilic areas, liquids can be confined on a surface. When applied in microfluidic devices, this allows the flow of liquids to be controlled and directed.

Local control of the adsorption of biomolecules or adhesion of cells also offers interesting opportunities for applications such as cell arrays and organ-on-a-chip.

Patterning wettability

As an example, the image shows a patterned hydrophobic 3D nanocoating on glass. The nanocoating is highly hydrophobic (water contact angle >130°) and has a thickness of approximately 80 nm. The nanocoating is patterned in such a way that 20 µm uncoated hydrophilic circles are created in a continuous hydrophobic background.

Local nanocoatings can be applied on glass and polymers, and even inside microfluidic channels. Local hydrophobic and/or hydrophilic nanocoatings in microfluidic devices can be used to create flow paths within the channels.

Combining hydrophilic and hydrophobic channels in a single microfluidic device enables the generation of double emulsions, which normally requires two separate devices.

Patterning bioadhesion

Like local wettability can be controlled by patterns of hydrophobic and hydrophilic areas, the local interaction of biomolecules and cells with surfaces can be controlled by patterned anti-biofouling (protein or cell repellent) and bioadhesion promoting nanocoatings.

The image shows the growth of neurons on such a patterned surface. Neurons were seeded on the surface and are localized to the nodes. Neurites grow from the nodes following the nanocoating pattern, connecting to neighbouring nodes and forming a spatially organized neuronal network.