Smart surfaces with preferably reconfigurable wetting properties can lead to key applications in labon- a-chip analytical and preparative systems. In this paper, we present our recent results obtained using polymer surfaces whose wetting properties are modified in a permanent manner using laser ablation and in a reconfigurable manner using plasma oxidation. Polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) diluted in solvent is used as the polymeric material coated over microscope glass slides in our studies. In the first part, the tracks of ~ 70 μm width are defined over the surface by surface oxidation using cold plasma exposure through a microfluidic channel. In the second part, femtosecond laser micromachining is used for selective removal of polymer coating and uncovering the hydrophilic glass substrate. We experimentally demonstrate guiding of water in the form of filaments and droplets over the obtained hydrophilic tracks of ~ 110 μm. We also discuss preliminary experiments to coat light sensitive azobenzene over a glass substrate with the help of a silane in order to achieve reversible isomerization upon periodic exposure to UV/vis radiation. Furthermore, we elaborate advantages, challenges and the significant role of such patterned surfaces in future applications.
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