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2012 Penn State MRSEC/Physics REU Abstract Micropatterning Conducting Polymer by Agarose Stamping and Electrodeposition Samantha R.

Corber1,2 1 Department of Chemistry, 2Department of Physics, Washburn University


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Kelly N. Layton3, Prof. Mohammad Reza Abidian3,4,5 Department of Bioengineering, 4Department of Chemical Engineering, 5Department of Material Science and Engineering, The Pennsylvania State University

Organic conducting polymers (CP) such as poly(pyrrole) (PPy) and poly(3,4ethylenedioxythiophene) (PEDOT) are of particular interest in neural engineering due to their semiconductor-like electrical properties, polymeric mechanical properties, and biocompatibility. Further, these polymers have the capability to act as tunable drug delivery systems to neural tissue by incorporation of a drug during electrodeposition of the polymer on a conductive substrate and release by actuation of the drug-loaded film. Recently, new methods have been developed to micropattern CP on a substrate using a two-step process that consists of complete coverage of the substrate with the CP followed by selective oxidation of the polymer to limit the area capable of conducting a current. Because these methods limit the applications to those only needing a single type of polymer, dopant and drug, the aim of this project is to develop and characterize a simple one-step method of electropolymerization using patterned agarose stamping. A 2% w/v agarose stamp with multiple micro-scale (700-1000 m diameter) features is prepared with 0.1 M PPy and 0.1 M polystyrene sulfonate (PSS) solution incorporated in the gel. This stamp is placed onto a gold substrate to electrodeposit the CP only in areas of the substrate that are in contact with the patterned stamp. All samples are electrodeposited at 0.5 mA/cm2. This new method will allow one to vary the polymer, dopant or drug by individually inking each post. We have been successful in solving past issues with leakage of solution out of the agarose gel that caused an inverse pattern to deposit onto the substrate when using a 700 m feature size. Due to problems with delamination of the CP when depositing on bare gold substrates, we found that a coverslip coated first with a layer of chrome then with a layer of gold greatly reduces this issue. The deposited films are characterized with SEM and it has been observed that as time of deposition increases, thickness of film also increases. In the future, we hope to further characterize the CP films produced with varying current densities and decrease the feature size of the stamp. This study is expected to provide greater precision and control in drug release studies and aid in the guided regeneration of neural tissue.