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Superhydrophilic Multilayer Silica Nanoparticle Networks on a Polymer Microchannel Using a Spray Layer-by-Layer Nanoassembly Method

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journal contribution
posted on 11.09.2013, 00:00 by Kang Kug Lee, Chong H. Ahn
Nanoporous and superhydrophilic multilayer silica nanoparticle networks have been developed on a hydrophobic cyclic olefin copolymer (COC) microchannel using a spray layer-by-layer (LbL) electrostatic nanoassembly method. This powerful and promising LbL method provides a simple, cost-effective, and high-throughput nanoporous silica multilayer selectively onto the hydrophobic polymer surfaces. These newly developed multilayer networks have also been successfully characterized by contact angle measurement, environmental scanning electron microscopy (ESEM), energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS), and atomic force microscopy (AFM). The superhydrophilic effect, which was confirmed by the contact angle measurements, of the silica networks ensured the hydrophilic nature of the selectively constructed nanoporous silica nanoparticles onto the patterned hydrophobic COC microchannel. The capillary effect of the developed surface was characterized by measuring the length of a test liquid driven by the induced capillary forces in an on-chip capillary pumping platform with horizontal microchannels. The pumping capability achieved from the sprayed nanoporous surface for the on-chip micropump was mainly due to the strong capillary imbibition driven by the multicoated bilayers of hydrophilic silica nanoparticles. The developed networks with spray-assembled nanoparticles were also applied for an on-chip blood plasma separation platform with closed microchannels. The spray LbL method developed in this work can be a highly practical approach for the modification of various polymer microchannels because of several advantages such as an extremely simple process for the multilayer formation and flexibly controlled surface functionality at room temperature.