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SQI: Simpson Querry Institute

Gianneschi group extends polymer chemistry into nanoscale 4D printing

SQI faculty member Nathan Gianneschi coauthored a recent paper in Nature Communications which describes a 4D printer capable of producing patterned surfaces that recreate the complexity of cell surfaces.Nathan Gianneschi

The printing method, termed Polymer Brush Hypersurface Photolithography, combines organic chemistry, surface science and nanolithography to construct precisely designed nanopatterned surfaces that are decorated with delicate organic or biological molecules. The researchers expect these surfaces, which can be composed of different materials, to be useful in a variety of applications including drug research, biosensor development and advanced optics, according to a press release from the Advanced Science Research Center (ASRC) at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.

Scientists from the ASRC collaborated with Gianneschi’s group on the research. They printed a nanoscale version of the Statute of Liberty as a proof-of-concept, showing the ability to control the chemical composition of each pixel using a light source and microfluidics.

“Polymer chemistry provides such a powerful set of tools, and innovations in polymer chemistry have been major drivers of technology throughout the last century,” Gianneschi, the Jacob and Rosaline Cohn Professor of Chemistry, Materials Science and Engineering, and Biomedical Engineering at Northwestern University, said in the press release. “This work extends this innovation to the interfaces where arbitrary structures can be made in a highly controlled way, and in a way that allows us to characterize what we have made and to generalize it to other polymers.”