Langmuir, Vol.26, No.16, 13637-13643, 2010
Reactive Wet Stamping for Patterning of Polyelectrolyte Multilayers
Patterning of soft films, especially their bulk and not only their surface properties, presents a challenge. Several lithographic techniques do exist, but many of them are complex or limited in their ability to change properties. A few methods of patterning polyelectrolyte multilayers (PEM) have been reported, including microcontact printing and selectively growing layers on patterned self-assembled monolayers, but these all come with certain limitations. We present here the use of a modified microcontact printing method, reactive wet stamping (r-WETs), using a hydrogel stamp soaked in aqueous solutions to create patterns in PEMs. With this technique we are able to locally cause swelling and porosity changes in the PEM films and use our method to qualitatively study the evolution of the porous film morphology. This technique has the potential to locally control chemical functionality, film thickness, and mechanical properties, leading to a new ability to control film architectures both at the film surface and within the bulk of the film.