The discovery of novel biomaterials that are optimized for a specific biological application is readily achieved using polymer microarrays, which allows a combinatorial library of materials to be screened in a parallel, high throughput format (1). Herein is described the formation and characterization of a polymer microarray using an on-chip photopolymerization technique (2). This involves mixing monomers at varied ratios to produce a library of monomer solutions, transferring the solution to a glass slide format using a robotic printing device and curing with UV irradiation. This format is readily amenable to many biological assays, including stem cell attachment and proliferation, cell sorting and low bacterial adhesion, allowing the ready identification of 'hit' materials that fulfill a specific biological criterion (3-5). Furthermore, the use of high throughput surface characterization (HTSC) allows the biological performance to be correlated with physio-chemical properties, hence elucidating the biological-material interaction (6). HTSC makes use of water contact angle (WCA) measurements, atomic force microscopy (AFM), X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry (ToF-SIMS). In particular, ToF-SIMS provides a chemically rich analysis of the sample that can be used to correlate the cell response with a molecular moiety. In some cases, the biological performance can be predicted from the ToF-SIMS spectra, demonstrating the chemical dependence of a biological-material interaction, and informing the development of hit materials (5,3).
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