A moderately hydrophilic, thermoplastic elastomer poly(ether-ester)) was investigated as a stamp material for microcontact printing of a polar ink: pentaerythritol-tetrakis-(3-mercaptopropionate). Stamps with a relief structure were produced from this polymer by hot embossing, and a comparison was made with conventional poly(dimethylsiloxane) (PDMS) and oxygen-plasma-treated PDMS. It is shown that the hydrophilic stamps can be used for the repetitive printing (without re-inking) of at least 10 consecutive patterns, which preserve their etch resistance, and this in rather sharp contrast to conventional and oxygen plasma-treated PDMS stamps. It is argued that these enhanced printing characteristics of the hydrophilic stamps originate from an improved wetting and solubility of polar inks in the hydrophilic stamp.


Trimbach, D. C, Al-Hussein, M, de Jeu, W. H, Decré, M, Boer, D. J, & Bastiaansen, C. W. M. (2004). Hydrophilic elastomers for microcontact printing of polar inks. Langmuir, 20, 4738–4742. doi:10.1021/la049716o