Versatile thiol-based reactions for micrometer- and nanometer-scale photopatterning of polymers and biomolecules
Thiol-based chemistry provides a mild and versatile tool for surface functionalization. In the present work, mercaptosilane films were patterned by utilizing UV-induced photo-oxidation of the thiol to yield sulfonate groups via contact and interferometric lithography (IL). These photo-generated sulfonic acid groups were used for selective immobilization of amino-functionalized molecules after activation with triphenylphosphine ditriflate (TPPDF). Moreover, protein-resistant poly(oligoethyleneglycolmethacrylate) (POEGMA) brushes were grown from the intact thiol groups by a surface-induced polymerization reaction. Exploiting both reactions it is possible to couple amino-labelled nitrilotriacetic acid (NH2-NTA) to sulfonate-functionalized regions, enabling the site-specific binding of green fluorescent protein (GFP) to regions defined lithographically, while exploiting the protein-resistant character of POEGMA brushes to prevent non-specific protein adsorption to previously masked areas. The outstanding reactivity of thiol groups paves the way towards novel strategies for the fabrication of complex protein nanopatterns beyond thiol–ene chemistry.