Novel applications of superhydrophilic-superhydrophobic patterned surfaces

Published on February 7, 2014

We demonstrate that combining the unique properties of superhydrophilicity and superhydrophobicity on the same surface in micropatterns generates unexpected and interesting applications.


We use the micropatterns for digital liquid patterning – a simple, maskless method to generate complex water droplets – to create patterns of particles, cells, hydrogels, and complex liquid gradients. We also use the micropatterns to create arrays of thousands of isolated droplets in one simple step. We can confine cells in each individual microdroplet or hydrogel to screening, for example, single cells, non-adherent cells, and cells in 3D microenvironments. We can print different chemicals or bioactive molecules in each superhydrophilic spot and use it as a miniaturized cell screening chip. Other details and examples of applications can be found on

Levkin Group | Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany

Pavel Levkin is head of the Biofunctional Materials Research Group at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology and Heidelberg University, Germany. He obtained a B.S. and M.S. in Chemistry and Chemical Engineering from the Institute of Fine Chemical Technology, Moscow in 2001 and 2003, respectively, and a Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from the University of Tübingen with Prof. Schurig in 2007. He did postdoctoral work at the University of California, Berkeley with Prof. Fréchet and Dr. Svec from 2007-2009. His research is now focused on advanced biofunctional materials for cell screening, cell patterning, and tissue engineering applications as well as the development of novel drug- and gene-delivery systems. Pavel Levkin is a recipient of the Helmholtz YIG grant and the ERC Starting Grant.

Erica Ueda obtained a M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from MIT in 2008 and is currently a Ph.D. student in Biology at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology.

Alexander Efremov obtained his M.S. in Chemistry at Novosibirsk State University in 2009 and is now a Ph.D. student in Physical Chemistry at Heidelberg University.


Geyer, F.; Ueda, E.; Liebel, U.; Grau, N.; Levkin, P.A., Superhydrophobic–Superhydrophilic Micropatterning: Towards Genome-on-a-Chip Cell Microarrays, Angew. Chem., Int. Ed. 2011, 50, 8424–8427. 10.1002/anie.201102545

Ueda, E.; Geyer, F.; Georgiou, T.; Nedashkivska, V.; Levkin, P.A., DropletMicroarray: facile formation of arrays of microdroplets and hydrogel micropads for cell screening applications, Lab Chip 2012, 12, 5218–5224. 10.039/C2LC40921F

Efremov, A.N.; Stanganello, E.; Welle, A.; Scholpp, S.; Levkin, P.A., Micropatterned superhydrophobic structures for the simultaneous culture of multiple cell types and the study of cell–cell communication, Biomaterials 2012, 34, 1763–1757. 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2012.11.034

Ueda, E.; Levkin, P.A., Micropatterning Hydrophobic Liquid on a Porous Polymer Surface for Long-Term Selective Cell-Repellency, Adv. Mater. 2013, 25, 1234–1247. 10.1002/adhm.201300073

Levkin Research Group

Related article:

Hirtz, M.; Lyon, M.; Feng, W.; Holmes, A.E.; Fuchs, H.; Levkin, P.A., Beilstein J. Nanotechnol. 2013, 4, 377–384. 10.3762/bjnano.4.44

To download this video, right-click on the icon. Then, choose “Save … As…” from the menu that appears. Choose a location on your computer to download the file, and then click the “Save” button. All videos published by the Beilstein-Institut on this Web Site are licensed for use in accordance with the Creative Commons License.

Category Tag