An in situ polymer microstructure formation method. The monomer mixture is polymerized in a solvent/precipitant through exposure to ionizing radiation in the absence any chemical mediators. If an exposure mask is employed to block out certain regions of the radiation cross section, then a patterned microstructure is formed. The polymerization mechanism is based on the so-called free-radical retrograde-precipitation polymerization process, in which polymerization occurs while the system is phase separating above the lower critical solution temperature. This method was extended to produce a crosslinked line grid-pattern of poly (N-isopropylacrylamide), which has been known to have thermoreversible properties.
The United States Government has certain rights in this invention pursuant to Contract No. W-31-109-ENG-38 between the U.S. Department of Energy and The University of Chicago representing Argonne National Laboratories.