Chitosan is widely recognized as a natural and proper scaffold material; however, as a base substrate, it shows little promotion effect for the growth of cultured fibroblast cells. In this study, chitosan in a film form was prepared and used as a cell-culturing matrix, followed by patterning the evaporated Au upon it. Micro-scale Au clusters of ≈ 150 μm in diameter and ≈ 20 nm in thickness were then patterned and adhered upon the chitosan matrix. Physical and chemical properties of Au/chitosan were characterized. In particular, nano-indentation with dynamic contact module was applied to measure the nano-hardness of the tailored surfaces on Au/chitosan. Fibroblast cells were thereafter cultured on Au/chitosan. Experimental results demonstrated that as compared with the chitosan matrix, Au clusters and their boundary area exhibited favorable to promote cell adhesion, spreading, and growth. As well, nano-hardness on the boundary area of Au/chitosan significantly enhanced, while the cultured fibroblast cells aggregated upon Au clusters and the boundary area. In combination with the possible chemical and mechanical changes resulted by the evaporation of Au clusters upon the chitosan matrix, a selectively-enhanced Au/chitosan to promote fibroblast cells proliferation was created. Such design is anticipated for enabling a surface for scaffold materials with the cell-guidable function.
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