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Bio-nanopatterning of surfaces is becoming a crucial technique with applications ranging from molecular and cell biology to medicine. Scanning probe microscopy (SPM) is one of the most useful tools for nanopatterning of flat surfaces. However, these patterns are usually built on homogeneous surfaces and require chemical functionalization to ensure specific affinity. Layered magnesium-aluminum hydroxide-silicates have already shown unique self-assembly properties on DNA molecules, due to their peculiar crystal chemistry based on alternating positive and negative crystal layers. However, patterns on these surfaces tend to be randomly organized. Here we show etching and oxidation at the nanometer scale of magnesium-aluminum hydroxide-silicates using the same SPM probe for the creation of organized nanopatterns. In particular, it is possible to produce three-dimensional structures in a reproducible way, with a depth resolution of 0.4 nm, lateral resolution of tens of nm, and a speed of about 10 μm s(-1). We report, as an example, the construction of an atomically flat charged pattern, designed to guide DNA deposition along predetermined directions without the need of any chemical functionalization of the surface.


G Valdrè, D Moro, C M Hounsome, M Antognozzi. SPM nanolithography of hydroxy-silicates. Nanotechnology. 2012 Sep 28;23(38):385301

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PMID: 22948182

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