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Microplasma pen designs for surface chemical pattern fabrication

A Almaarik, M Dawary, A Moukannas, P Roach
Published in : HAMDAN MEDICAL JOURNAL ; Vol 8, No 4 (2015): Supplement Issue
DOI : 10.7707/hmj.518


Introduction: Surface engineering approaches have been investigated to control cell responses in vitro . Surface chemistry impacts greatly on cell responses. Amines mimic the natural biological environment and are therefore widely used for these investigations. Chemical patterning allows the presentation of defined surface regions controlling cell attachment and morphology. Designer interactions can be fabricated between discrete cell populations. This is increasingly important within the field of regenerative medicine as researchers are striving to mimic complex cellular architectures. Current surface chemical patterning methods are, however, limited in this capacity because of multistep and time-consuming methodologies.

Objectives: Here we present the use of plasma pens for direct-writing defined chemical regions. Cell response to these areas has been assessed, showing a capacity to control cell attachment and directional morphology.

Materials and methods: A fluoropolymer was etched via helium radio frequency plasma (9W; 13.56MHz); allylamine was also polymerized in the plasma. Surfaces were characterized by water contact angles (WCA) and Raman microscopy. HEK293 cells were cultured over the chemically modified surfaces at 37°C in media containing 10% fetal calf serum, 1% Glu and 1% penicillin/streptomycin.

Results: Helium plasma-treated regions were hydrophilic compared with the surrounding hydrophobic areas, having WCAs of ≈ 15° and ≈ 112°, respectively. Defined patterns were visualized by wettability maps and Raman microscopy. Plasma-treated regions were devoid of polymeric groups, also apparent in surrounding fluorocarbon regions, indicating plasma etching had taken place. Edges of the chemical pattern showed a higher proportion of carbonyl component, indicating localized oxidization. Cells were found to attach well to plasma-treated regions, elongating along the length of the pattern edge.

Conclusions: Surface chemical patterning can be achieved by direct-write using a plasma pen. These regions can be tuned to control cell attachment and elongation.

Acknowledgements: We thank the College of Medicine, Imam Muhammad ibn Saud Islamic University for student scholarship support to carry out this project at Keele University.




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