Inspired by adhesive mussel proteins, nanospherical self-assemblies were prepared from bolaamphiphiles containing 3,4-dihydroxyphenylalanine (DOPA) moieties, and a suspension of the bolaamphiphile assemblies was used for the preparation of a patterned surface that enhanced cell adhesion and viability. The abundant surface-exposed catechol groups on the robust bolaamphiphile self-assemblies were responsible for their outstanding adhesivity to various surfaces and showed purely elastic mechanical behaviour in response to tensile stress. Compared to other polydopamine coatings, the spherical DOPA-bolaamphiphile assemblies were coated uniformly and densely on the surface, yielding a nano-embossed surface. Cell culture tests on the surface modified by DOPA-bolaamphiphiles also showed enhanced cellular adhesivity and increased viability compared to surfaces decorated with other catecholic compounds. Furthermore, the guided growth of a cell line was demonstrated on the patterned surface, which was prepared by inkjet printing using a suspension of the self-assembled particles as an ink. The self-assembly of DOPA-bolaamphiphiles shows that they are a promising adhesive, biocompatible material with the potential to modify various substances.
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