Analytical Chemistry

Versatile and Selective Fluorination of the Surface of Polymeric Materials After Stereolithography 3D Printing



With the microfluidics community embracing 3D resin printing as a rapid fabrication method, controlling surface chemistry has emerged as a new challenge. Fluorination of 3D printed surfaces is highly desirable in many applications due to chemical inertness, low friction coefficients, anti-fouling properties and the potential for selective hydrophobic patterning. Despite sporadic reports, silanization methods have not been optimized for covalent bonding with polymeric resins. As a case study, we tested the silanization of a commercially available (meth)acrylate-based resin (BV-007A) with a fluoroalkyl trichlorosilane. Interestingly, plasma oxidation was unnecessary for silanization of this resin, and indeed was ineffective. Solvent-based deposition in a fluorinated oil (FC-40) generated significantly higher contact angles than deposition in ethanol or gas-phase deposition, yielding hydrophobic surfaces with contact angle > 110˚ under optimized conditions. Attenuated Total Reflectance-Fourier Transform Infrared (ATR-FTIR) spectroscopy indicated that the increase in contact angle correlated with consumption of a carbonyl moiety, suggesting covalent bonding of the silane without plasma oxidation. Consistent with a covalent bond, the silanization was resistant to mechanical damage and hydrolysis in methanol, and was stable over long-term storage. When tested on a suite of photocrosslinkable resins, this silanization protocol generated highly hydrophobic surfaces (contact angle > 110˚) on three resins and moderate hydrophobicity (90 – 100˚) on the remainder. Selective patterning of hydrophobic regions in an open 3D-printed microchannel was possible in combination with simple masking techniques. Thus, this facile fluorination strategy is expected to be applicable for resin-printed materials in a variety of contexts including micropatterning and multiphase microfluidics.


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Supplementary material

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Catterton ResinFluorination SI