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September 25, 2006

Three-Dimensional Polymeric Nanostructure

Three-Dimensional Polymeric Nanostructure

Three-Dimensional polymeric nanostructure (light yellow) as a microfluidic filter for submicron particles (blue).

Fabrication of the structure used an optical technique that exploits transparent elastomeric phase masks with periodic relief on their surfaces. Contacting such a mask with a solid, transparent, photosensitive polymer layer leads to intimate, conformal contact between the two. Shining light through this mask exposes the polymer to the complex but well-defined 3 D distribution of intensity that develops near the surface of the mask. Removing the mask and then washing away the unexposed parts of the polymer leaves a solid, 3 D polymer replica of the intensity distribution. This method provides a simple, versatile and low-cost way to fabricate various 3-D nanostructures with a range of possible applications. The image shows the use of such a structure as a filter element in microfluidic lab-on-a-chip device. In this case, the filter separates out poly(styrene) beads (blue color) with diameters of 500 nanometers from an aqueous dispersion. More information can be found from: S. Jeon, J. U. Park, R. Cirelli, S. Yang, C. E. Heitzman, P. V. Braun, P. J. A. Kenis and J. A. Rogers, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 2004, 101(34), 12428. (Date of Image: 2004)

Credit: Dr. John A. Rogers, Department of Materials Science and Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. These images are modified with permission of the American Chemical Society.

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