Controlled fabrication of micropatterned supramolecular gels by directed self-assembly of small molecular gelators

Yiming Wang, Sander Oldenhof, Frank Versluis, Maulik Shah, Kai Zhang, Volkert van Steijn, Xuhong Guo, Rienk Eelkema, Jan H. van Esch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Herein, the micropatterning of supramolecular gels with oriented growth direction and controllable spatial dimensions by directing the self-assembly of small molecular gelators is reported. This process is associated with an acid-catalyzed formation of gelators from two soluble precursor molecules. To control the localized formation and self-assembly of gelators, micropatterned poly(acrylic acid) (PAA) brushes are employed to create a local and controllable acidic environment. The results show that the gel formation can be well confined in the catalytic surface plane with dimensions ranging from micro- to centimeter. Furthermore, the gels show a preferential growth along the normal direction of the catalytic surface, and the thickness of the resultant gel patterns can be easily controlled by tuning the grafting density of PAA brushes. This work shows an effective “bottom-up” strategy toward control over the spatial organization of materials and is expected to find promising applications in, e.g., microelectronics, tissue engineering, and biomedicine.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1804154
Number of pages6
JournalSmall
Volume15
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Keywords

  • directed self-assembly
  • gels
  • micropatterning
  • molecular gelators
  • supramolecular materials

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