A photochemical method for patterning the immobilization of ligands and cells to self-assembled monolayers

W. Shannon Dillmore, Muhammad N. Yousaf, Milan Mrksich*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

162 Scopus citations


This work describes a chemically well defined method for patterning ligands to self-assembled monolayers (SAMs) of alkanethiolates on gold. This method begins with monolayers presenting a nitroveratryloxycarbonyl (NVOC)-protected hydroquinone which is photochemically irradiated to reveal a hydroquinone group. The resulting hydroquinone is then oxidized to the corresponding benzoquinone, providing a site for the Diels-Alder mediated immobilization of ligands. The rate constant for the photochemical deprotection is 0.032 s -1 (with an intensity of approximately 100 mW/cm 2 between 355 and 375 nm), corresponding to a half-life of 21 s. The hydroquinone is oxidized to the benzoquinone using either electrochemical or chemical oxidation and then functionalized by reaction with a cyclopentadiene-tagged ligand. Two methods for patterning the immobilization of ligands are described. In the first, the substrate is illuminated through a mask to generate a pattern of hydroquinone groups, which are elaborated with ligands. In the second method, an optical microscope fit with a programmable translational stage is used to write patterns of deprotection which are then again elaborated with ligands. This technique is characterized by the use of well-defined chemical reactions to control the regions and densities of ligand immobilization and will be important for a range of applications that require patterned ligands for biospecific interactions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7223-7231
Number of pages9
Issue number17
StatePublished - Aug 17 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Spectroscopy
  • Electrochemistry


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