Applied Surface Science, Vol.253, No.23, 9177-9184, 2007
Laser-assisted modification of polystyrene surfaces for cell culture applications
Laser-assisted patterning and modification of polystyrene (PS) was investigated with respect to applications in micro-fluidics and cell culture. For this purpose the wettability, the adsorption of proteins and the adhesion of animal cells were investigated as function of laser- and processing parameters. The change of surface chemistry was characterized by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. The local formation of chemical structures suitable for improved cell adhesion was realized on PS surfaces by UV laser irradiation. Above and below the laser ablation threshold two different mechanisms affecting cell adhesion were detected. In the first case the debris deposited on and along laser irradiated areas was responsible for improved cell adhesion, while in the second case a photolytic activation of the polymer surface including a subsequent oxidization in oxygen or ambient air is leading to a highly localized alteration of protein adsorption from cell culture media and finally to increased cell adhesion. Laser modifications of PS using suitable exposure doses and an appropriate choice of the processing gas (helium or oxygen) enabled a highly localized control of wetting. The dynamic advancing contact angle could be adjusted between 2 degrees and 150 degrees. The hydrophilic and hydrophobic behaviour are caused by chemical and topographical surface changes. (c) 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.