Polydimethyl siloxane (PDMS) has many characteristics that make it the most popular candidate for producing organ-on-a-chip devices or mirco-physiological systems (MPS) devices. After crosslinking, PDMS has shown to be biologically compatible and amenable to many standard cell culture techniques due to it’s transparency, oxygen permeability, and low auto-fluorescence. However, due to PDMS’s hydrophobicity, molecules that are also hydrophobic partition into the PDMS to produce unpredictable concentrations in cell and media channels making it impossible to predict the actual dosing concentrations for drug investigations. This unpredictability is an obstacle for using organ-on-a-chip devices as screens for drug candidates in discovery stages.
Researchers at UC Berkeley have developed a simple coating procedure that allows the formation of substrate independent (universal) coatings. The researchers identified a novel compound able to form stable coatings that outperformed existing dip-coating precursor molecules in their ability to prevent absorbance of small molecules into a variety of organic and inorganic polymers, such as PDMS.