Researchers Develop SUN Wukong-Hair-Like Tunable Mold: Multiple Microarray Replicas Obtained from One Mold
In recent years, microarrays have aroused enormous interests due to their widespread applications in anti-icing, cell manipulation, and anti-bioadhesion. However, such arrays are typically fabricated by high-cost and time-consuming lithography techniques.
To solve this problem, the research team led by Dr. DU Xuemin at Shenzhen Institutes of Advanced Technology (SIAT), Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), in their recent paper in Journal of Materials Chemistry A, developed a new strategy that introduces shape memory polymer (SMP) into microarray fabrication, where various microarrays with series of changeable microscales were replicated by using one specific patterned SMP film as a tunable mold.
The novel SMP mold just resembles the magic abilities of the Monkey King (or SUN Wukong), a famous character in the classical Chinese Epic Novel, portrayed his Journey to the West, one of the most interesting plots is that his hairs can transform into the on-demand clones of himself or other subjects.
The “SUN Wukong-like” SMP mold shows robust abilities in shape deformation and recovery, its high shape recovery ratio at microscale and controllable surface wettability are present even after more than ten cycles of “stretch-recovery” process.
On basis of the excellent properties of the “SUN Wukong-like” SMP mold, the multiple microarray replicas with different microstructures and morphologies can be facilely obtained from one mold. And not only can the SMP mold produces the replicas of various dimensions, but also can replicate different polymers.
Furthermore, exactly as the Monkey King is infinitely resourceful, the SMP-based stretchable molds can be largely applied on the microstructure replication in a one-to-many, low-cost and simply cast-and-peel way. The universal strategy will pave an avenue for broad applications of microarrays in cell manipulation, water droplet manipulation and smart dry adhesives.
Fig. SMP mold shows robust abilities in shape deformation and recovery (Image by Dr. DU Xuemin)