Perspective abstract

Nature Chemistry 1, 353 - 358 (2009)
Published online: 28 June 2009 | doi:10.1038/nchem.258

Subject Categories: Nanotechnology | Surface chemistry

Molecular printing

Adam B. Braunschweig1, Fengwei Huo1 & Chad A. Mirkin1

Molecular printing techniques, which involve the direct transfer of molecules to a substrate with submicrometre resolution, have been extensively developed over the past decade and have enabled many applications. Arrays of features on this scale have been used to direct materials assembly, in nanoelectronics, and as tools for genetic analysis and disease detection. The past decade has witnessed the maturation of molecular printing led by two synergistic technologies: dip-pen nanolithography and soft lithography. Both are characterized by material and substrate flexibility, but dip-pen nanolithography has unlimited pattern design whereas soft lithography has limited pattern flexibility but is low in cost and has high throughput. Advances in DPN tip arrays and inking methods have increased the throughput and enabled applications such as multiplexed arrays. A new approach to molecular printing, polymer-pen lithography, achieves low-cost, high-throughput and pattern flexibility. This Perspective discusses the evolution and future directions of molecular printing.

  1. Department of Chemistry and International Institute for Nanotechnology, Northwestern University, 2145 Sheridan Road, Evanston, Illinois 60208-3113, USA.

Correspondence to: Chad A. Mirkin1 e-mail: