Localized Three-Dimensional Functionalization of Bionanoreceptors on High-Density Micropillar Arrays via Electrowetting

Langmuir. 2018 Jan 30;34(4):1725-1732. doi: 10.1021/acs.langmuir.7b02920. Epub 2018 Jan 18.


In this work, we introduce an electrowetting-assisted 3-D biofabrication process allowing both complete and localized functionalization of bionanoreceptors onto densely arranged 3-D microstructures. The integration of biomaterials with 3-D microdevice components offers exciting opportunities for communities developing miniature bioelectronics with enhanced performance and advanced modes of operation. However, most biological materials are stable only in properly conditioned aqueous solutions, thus the water-repellent properties exhibited by densely arranged micro/nanostructures (widely known as the Cassie-Baxter state) represent a significant challenge to biomaterial integration. Here, we first investigate such potential limitations using cysteine-modified tobacco mosaic virus (TMV1cys) as a model bionanoreceptor and a set of Au-coated Si-micropillar arrays (μPAs) of varying densities. Furthermore, we introduce a novel biofabrication system adopting electrowetting principles for the controlled localization of TMV1cys bionanoreptors on densely arranged μPAs. Contact angle analysis and SEM characterizations provide clear evidence to indicate structural hydrophobicity as a key limiting factor for 3-D biofunctionalization and for electrowetting as an effective method to overcome this limitation. The successful 3-D biofabrication is confirmed using SEM and fluorescence microscopy that show spatially controlled and uniform assemblies of TMV1cys on μPAs. The increased density of TMV1cys per device footprint produces a 7-fold increase in fluorescence intensity attributed to the μPAs when compared to similar assemblies on planar substrates. Combined, this work demonstrates the potential of electrowetting as a unique enabling solution for the controlled and efficient biofabrication of 3-D-patterned micro/nanodomains.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.