Servicio de Información Comunitario sobre Investigación y Desarrollo - CORDIS

Final Activity Report Summary - SOLITECH (Soft lithography technology)

Soft lithography, such as microcontact printing (uCP), is a key technology to connect non-biological materials via proteins with biological systems on a molecular level. This is an interdisciplinary area bringing together material science, biology and medical sciences.

The host of the SOLITECH project, the Institute of Material Science and Technology (IMT), at the Friedrich Schiller University Jena (Uni Jena) aimed at becoming the core institute of a centre of excellence in innovative uCP technology (CEuCP). The SOLITECH project involved five areas of expertise which corresponded to distinct working packages (WP):

1. WP1: Stamp preforms
2. WP2: Stamp technology
3. WP3: Ink technology
4. WP4: Surface and biological characterisation, and
5. WP5: Dissemination of results.

Different preforms with conventional photolithographic methods and thermodynamic surface patterning (TDSP) were prepared by establishing technologies at IMT and at the Institute of Physical High Technology (IPHT), Jena. Designs of the features for preforms were made at IMT. The fabrication of preforms was done at IPHT Jena, the local transfer of knowledge (ToK) cooperation partner. As an alternative to TDSP, preforms were also prepared from natural sources, e.g. bone and blood vessels. Bone mimicked preforms were synthesised by soft lithography and used as substrates for murine stem cell differentiation. Stamps were fabricated from different performs, namely photolithography and TDSP, and used for uCP of several synthetic chemicals and biological molecules, such as novel 'inks' consisting of two tail groups, named as Janus self-assembled monolayers (JSAM), which could bind selectively to two different substrate surfaces and were synthesized for soft lithographic applications. This ink was used for the adhesion of biomolecules to biomaterial surfaces such as titanium and gold. Several inks and biochemical molecules, including albumin, collagen type I, collagen Type VI and bone morphogenic protein-2, were microcontact printed on different biomaterial surfaces, such as titanium, gold and polystyrene tissue culture plates, to investigate the effects on protein adsorption, cell adhesion and growth. This process included osteoblast, fibroblast, chondroctes and murine embroyonic stem cells.

Our results from the SOLITECH project were published in prestigious journals such as Advanced Functional Materials, Chemistry of Materials and Advanced Engineering Materials - Advanced Biomaterials. Moreover, approximately four more publications were under preparation by the time of the project completion and would be submitted soon. In addition, we applied for one patent related to an innovative ink for uCP which was developed during this project. Experienced Fellows (EFs) presented these results at several conferences and workshops. As was the purpose of ToK, all EFs were involved in several lectures and training programmes for IMT staff, high school and undergraduate students at IMT. Several workshops and conferences were organised by IMT during the project periods. A web site of the project, where additional information could be found, was created.

Through the knowledge transfer within the framework of the Marie Curie programme the IMT became one of the core leading European Centres of Excellence in innovative uCP technology. SOLITECH strengthened the expertise of IMT in an area important for European research and product development.

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