Microcontact printing of polyelectrolyte multilayer thin films: Glass-viscous flow transition based effects and hydration methods

Meiyu Gai, Johannes Frueh, Gleb B. Sukhorukov, Agnes Girard-Egrot, Samuel Rebaud, Bastien Doumeche, Qiang He

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Micro and nano-patterned surfaces are important for many applications ranging from antibiofouling over tissue engineering to electronics. Often the incorporation of functional entities is of interest. Polymer coatings especially polyelectrolyte multilayer (PEM) films and patterns are materials offering a large variety of tuning and engineering. The PEM pattern printing quality bases not only on the surface force balance but also in the way the PEM is softened, which can be done by printing the PEM in water, using an ultrasound humidifier or by exposing the film to (hot) water vapor. In this publication it is shown, that cold water vapor from an ultrasound humidifier or direct printing in water is superior to steam evaporation onto PEM thin films as humidification method. In addition the capillary pressure of the patterns within the stamp and the glass-viscous flow transition point of the PEM thin film are the significant parameters for PEM printing. This is because the PEM can surpass the glass-viscous flow transition point due to the shear forces and be sucked into the stamp microwells (or holes) preventing a structure replication. Under high temperatures and in aqueous conditions, the PEM can be expelled from the microwells due to the osmotic pressure produced by the counter ions of PEM in glass-viscous flow state and dissolving polyelectrolyte if a PEM with counter ion based charge balance is used.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)271-278
Number of pages8
JournalColloids and Surfaces A: Physicochemical and Engineering Aspects
Publication statusPublished - 20 Oct 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Capillary forces
  • Humidification method
  • Microcontact printing
  • Osmotic pressure
  • PEM glass-viscous flow transition
  • Polyelectrolyte multilayers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry

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