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Imbibition of Femtoliter-Scale DNA-Rich Aqueous Droplets into Porous Nylon Substrates by Molecular Printing

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  • G Arrabito, Department of Physics and Chemistry "Emilio Segrè" , University of Palermo , Building 17, V.le delle Scienze , Palermo 90128 , Italy.
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  • V Ferrara, Department of Chemical Sciences , University of Catania , Viale Andrea Doria 6 , Catania 95125 , Italy.
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  • A Ottaviani, *Department of Biology, University of Rome Tor Vergata, Via Della Ricerca Scientifica, Rome 00133, Italy.
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  • F Cavaleri, Department of Physics and Chemistry "Emilio Segrè" , University of Palermo , Building 17, V.le delle Scienze , Palermo 90128 , Italy.
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  • S Cubisino, Department of Physics and Chemistry "Emilio Segrè" , University of Palermo , Building 17, V.le delle Scienze , Palermo 90128 , Italy.
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  • P Cancemi, Department of Biological Chemical and Pharmaceutical Sciences and Technologies , University of Palermo , Building 16, V.le delle Scienze , Palermo 90128 , Italy.
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  • Y P Ho, Department of Biomedical Engineering, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, N.T., Hong Kong SAR, China., Centre for Novel Biomaterials , The Chinese University of Hong Kong , Hong Kong SAR , China.
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  • B R Knudsen
  • M S Hede, VPCIR.COM , CF. Møllers Alle 3 , Aarhus C 800 , Denmark.
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  • C Pellerito, Department of Physics and Chemistry "Emilio Segrè" , University of Palermo , Building 17, V.le delle Scienze , Palermo 90128 , Italy.
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  • A Desideri, *Department of Biology, University of Rome Tor Vergata, Via Della Ricerca Scientifica, Rome 00133, Italy.
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  • S Feo, Department of Biological Chemical and Pharmaceutical Sciences and Technologies , University of Palermo , Building 16, V.le delle Scienze , Palermo 90128 , Italy.
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  • B Pignataro, Department of Physics and Chemistry "Emilio Segrè" , University of Palermo , Building 17, V.le delle Scienze , Palermo 90128 , Italy.

This work presents the first reported imbibition mechanism of femtoliter (fL)-scale droplets produced by microchannel cantilever spotting (μCS) of DNA molecular inks into porous substrates (hydrophilic nylon). Differently from macroscopic or picoliter droplets, the downscaling to the fL-size leads to an imbibition process controlled by the subtle interplay of evaporation, spreading, viscosity, and capillarity, with gravitational forces being quasi-negligible. In particular, the minimization of droplet evaporation, surface tension, and viscosity allows for a reproducible droplet imbibition process. The dwell time on the nylon surface permits further tuning of the droplet lateral size, in accord with liquid ink diffusion mechanisms. The functionality of the printed DNA molecules is demonstrated at different imbibed oligonucleotide concentrations by hybridization with a fluorolabeled complementary sequence, resulting in a homogeneous coverage of DNA within the imbibed droplet. This study represents a first step toward the μCS-enabled fabrication of DNA-based biosensors and microarrays into porous substrates.

Original languageEnglish
JournalLangmuir
Volume35
Issue52
Pages (from-to)17156-17165
Number of pages10
ISSN0743-7463
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2019

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