Large-area molecular patterning with polymer pen lithography

Daniel J. Eichelsdoerfer, Xing Liao, Maria D. Cabezas, William Morris, Boya Radha, Keith A. Brown, Louise R. Giam, Adam B. Braunschweig, Chad A. Mirkin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

78 Scopus citations


The challenge of constructing surfaces with nanostructured chemical functionality is central to many areas of biology and biotechnology. This protocol describes the steps required for performing molecular printing using polymer pen lithography (PPL), a cantilever-free scanning probe-based technique that can generate sub-100-nm molecular features in a massively parallel fashion. To illustrate how such molecular printing can be used for a variety of biologically relevant applications, we detail the fabrication of the lithographic apparatus and the deposition of two materials, an alkanethiol and a polymer onto a gold and silicon surface, respectively, and show how the present approach can be used to generate nanostructures composed of proteins and metals. Finally, we describe how PPL enables researchers to easily create combinatorial arrays of nanostructures, a powerful approach for high-throughput screening. A typical protocol for fabricating PPL arrays and printing with the arrays takes 48-72 h to complete, including two overnight waiting steps.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2548-2560
Number of pages13
JournalNature Protocols
Issue number12
StatePublished - 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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