Soft Lithographic Production of Electroactive Polyvinylidene Fluoride Microstructures for BioMEMS Technologies

D. Gallego, N. Ferrell, N. Higuita, and D.J. Hansford (USA)


Soft lithography, polyvinylidene fluoride, BioMEMS, piezoelectric


We present a method for the fabrication of electroactive polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) microstructures via soft lithography for BioMEMS applications. Previously patterned PDMS stamps were used to produce arrays of PVDF microstructures with different geometries, dimensions, and configurations. The microstructures were electrically poled and the inverse piezoelectric effect was studied using a stimulating voltage between 0 and ± 8 V. Non-poled specimens served as controls. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) was used for morphological characterization. Preliminary cytocompatibility studies were conducted using a bone marrow stem cell line and the direct contact assay. SEM observations revealed that PVDF structures presented highly defined geometry at the microscale. Feature dimensions ranged between ~ 3 and 20 μm. Poled microstructures were effectively deformed in response to the stimulating voltage. Control samples did not exhibit piezoelectric behavior. Cell culture experiments confirmed the cytocompatibility of PVDF (both flat and micropatterned). The cells exhibited strong interactions with tips and corners of the microfeatures. Piezoelectric PVDF microstructures could potentially be used in a number of BioMEMS applications, including the development of electroactive tissue engineering scaffolds, cell and tissue force sensing microdevices, microactuators, acoustic microtransducers, and energy harvesting microcomponents among others.

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