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Author ORCID Identifier



Open Access Dissertation

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program

Polymer Science and Engineering

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded


First Advisor

James J. Watkins

Subject Categories

Biology and Biomimetic Materials | Ceramic Materials | Materials Science and Engineering | Nanoscience and Nanotechnology | Polymer and Organic Materials


There are three major challenges for the design of patterned surfaces for biointerfacial applications: (i) durability of antibacterial/antifouling mechanisms, (ii) mechanical durability, and (iii) lifetime of the master mold for mass production of patterned surfaces. In this dissertation, we describe our contribution for the development of each of these challenges.

The bioinspired surface, Sharklet AFTM, has been shown to reduce bacterial attachment via a biocide-free structure-property relationship effectively. Unfortunately, the effectiveness of polymer-based sharkskin surfaces is challenged over the long term by both eventual bacteria accumulation and a lack of mechanical durability. To address these common modes of failure, hard, multifunctional, antifouling, and antibacterial shark-skin patterned surfaces were fabricated via a solvent-assisted imprint patterning technique. A UV-crosslinkable adhesive material was loaded with titanium dioxide (TiO2)nanoparticles (NPs) from which shark skin microstructures were imprinted on a polyethylene terephthalate substrate. Furthermore, hard, multifunctional, antifouling, and antibacterial shark skin patterned surfaces were fabricated using inks comprised of zirconium dioxide (ZrO2) NPs and TiO2 NPs. The ZrO2 NPs provide an extremely hard and durable matrix in the final structure, while the TiO2 NPs provide active antibacterial functionality in the presence of UV light via photooxidation. The dynamic water contact angle, mechanical, antibacterial, and antifouling characteristics of the shark skin patterned surfaces were investigated as a function of TiO2 content. We then demonstrated the multifunctional shark skin system’s suitability for use as an antifouling biosensor.

Lastly, we described the design of a durable, hard master mold for pattern transfer. The lifetime of many of the current molds is limited by a lack of mechanical durability as well as cost. In this study, ZrO2 NPs were imprinted on a variety of substrates using a solvent-assisted patterning technique and subsequently annealed to increase the mechanical durability of the mold. Polymer replications were demonstrated using the hard ZrO2 mold with thermal and UV nanoimprinting lithography techniques, and injection molding. After up to 115,000 injection molding cycles, there was no delamination or breakage in the ZrO2 mold. The high hardness and durability, as demonstrated through the many replication cycles, suggests that the ZrO2 mold has excellent potential for use in the mass production of patterned polymer replicas. We also explored the nanopatterning of stainless steel using the ZrO2 mold. The solution-processability and simple patterning technique of ZrO2 NPs enable large-area and cost-effective fabrication of the hard molds which can be used for the variety of nano and micro-replication technologies.