The application of atomic force microscopy (AFM) tip-mediated molecular transfer (dip-pen nanolithography or DPN) to fabricate nanopatterned (bio)reactive platforms based on dendrimers on reactive self-assembled monolayer (SAM) and polymer thin films is discussed. The transfer of high-molar-mass polyamidoamine (PAMAM) dendrimers (generation 5) and the rapid in situ covalent attachment of the deposited adsorbates onto reactive N-hydroxysuccinimide (NHS) terminated SAMs on gold and NHS-activated polystyrene-block-poly(tert-butyl acrylate) (PS690-b-PtBA1210) block copolymer thin films were investigated as strategies to suppress line broadening by surface diffusion in DPN. By exploiting carefully controlled environmental conditions (such as temperature and relative humidity), scan rates, and in particular the covalent attachment of the dendrimers to the reactive films, the observed line broadening and hence the lateral diffusion of dendrimers was substantially less pronounced compared to that observed with DPN of thiols on gold. By this method, high-definition patterns of dendrimers were conveniently fabricated down to 30-nm length scales. The presence of primary amino groups in the deposited dendrimers ultimately offers the possibility to anchor biochemically relevant molecules, such as proteins and polypeptides, to these nanostructured platforms for a wide range of possible applications in the life sciences and in particular for the investigation of controlled cell-surface interactions.
- reactive films
- Scanning probe microscopy