Scanning Probe-Directed Assembly and Rapid Chemical Writing Using Nanoscopic Flow of Phospholipids

Nanofluidic systems offer a huge potential for discovery of new molecular transport and chemical phenomena that can be employed for future technologies. Herein, we report on the transport behavior of surface-reactive compounds in a nanometer-scale flow of phospholipids from a scanning probe. We have investigated microscopic deposit formation on polycrystalline gold by lithographic printing and writing of 1,2-dioleoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine and eicosanethiol mixtures, with the latter compound being a model case for self-assembled monolayers (SAMs). By analyzing the ink transport rates, we found that the transfer of thiols was fully controlled by the fluid lipid matrix allowing to achieve a certain jetting regime, i.e., transport rates previously not reported in dip-pen nanolithography (DPN) studies on surface-reactive, SAM-forming molecules. Such a transport behavior deviated significantly from the so-called molecular diffusion models, and it was most obvious at the high writing speeds, close to 100 mu m s(-1). Moreover, the combined data from imaging ellipsometry, scanning electron microscopy, atomic force microscopy (AFM), and spectroscopy revealed a rapid and efficient ink phase separation occurring in the AFM tip-gold contact zone. The force curve analysis indicated formation of a mixed ink meniscus behaving as a self-organizing liquid. Based on our data, it has to be considered as one of the co-acting mechanisms driving the surface reactions and self-assembly under such highly nonequilibrium, crowded environment conditions. The results of the present study significantly extend the capabilities of DPN using standard AFM instrumentation: in the writing regime, the patterning speed was already comparable to that achievable by using electron beam systems. We demonstrate that lipid flow-controlled chemical patterning process is directly applicable for rapid prototyping of solid-state devices having mesoscopic features as well as for biomolecular architectures.

Published in:
Acs Applied Materials & Interfaces, 11, 31, 28449-28460
Aug 07 2019

 Record created 2019-08-29, last modified 2020-04-20

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