Stamps, inks and substrates: polymers in microcontact printing

Abstract

Microcontact printing (mCP) is a straightforward method for the preparation of micro- and nanostructured surfaces. The key element in mCP is a polymeric stamp with a relief pattern. This stamp is ‘‘inked’’ and put in contact with the substrate surface. Ideally, the ink is transferred from stamp to substrate only in the area of contact. This review focuses on the important role of polymers in mCP. First of all, polymers are the material of choice to make mCP stamps. Furthermore, mCP is a useful method for preparing microstructured polymer surfaces. Polymers can be applied as inks in mCP so that microstructured polymer surfaces are obtained in a single printing step. Microstructured polymer surfaces can also be obtained by mCP on polymer substrates. A wide range of inks – including polymer inks – can be patterned on polymer substrates by mCP. In short, polymers are widely used as stamps, inks and substrates in mCP and we have organized this review accordingly.

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Stamps, inks and substrates: polymers in microcontact printing