Soft lithography, a set of techniques for microfabrication, is based on printing and molding using elastomeric stamps with the patterns of interest in basrelief. As a technique for fabricating microstructures for biological applications, soft lithography overcomes many of the shortcomings of photolithography. In particular, soft lithography offers the ability to control the molecular structure of surfaces and to pattern the complex molecules relevant to biology, to fabricate channel structures appropriate for microfluidics, and to pattern and manipulate cells. For the relatively large feature sizes used in biology or = 50 microns), production of prototype patterns and structures is convenient, inexpensive, and rapid. Self-assembled monolayers of alkanethiolates on gold are particularly easy to pattern by soft lithography, and they provide exquisite control over surface biochemistry.
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