The fabrication of well-defined, multifunctional polymer brushes under ambient conditions is described. This facile method uses light-mediated, metal-free atom-transfer radical polymerization (ATRP) to grow polymer brushes with only microliter volumes required. Key to the success of this strategy is the dual action of N-phenylphenothiazine (PTH) as both an oxygen scavenger and polymerization catalyst. Use of simple glass cover slips results in a high degree of spatial and temporal control and allows for multiple polymer brushes to be grown simultaneously. The preparation of arbitrary 3D patterns and functional/emissive polymer brushes demonstrates the practicality and versatility of this novel strategy.
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