Self-assembled monolayers (SAM) formed on gold or hydroxylated surfaces are well ordered organic surfaces that enable the control of interface property at the molecular scale. Microcontact printing is a simple technique that can pattern the formation of SAM in the plane with dimensions on the micron scale. The combination of SAM and microcontact printing makes a technique useful for studying a variety of fundamental phenomena in bio-interfacial science such as cell adhesion. However, the existence of surface roughness tends to impede the effectiveness of the method in generating the desirable interface properties. Studies have shown that surface roughness significantly changes adhesion of SAM coated material. The current study tries to understand the roughness effects on bio-adhesion of cell-SAM substratum. A current model of cell adhesion considers the effects of nonspecific and specific interactions between adhesion molecules and the substrate assuming an isotropic Gaussian distributed roughness. Simulation results show the change of pull-off force and contact area due to different scales of roughness. The reduction rate of cell adhesion due to roughness and chemical-mechanical factors are then compared to show the significance of roughness effects on SAM adhesion. Results suggest that caution must be taken in quantitative interpretation of protein and cell adsorption strength by using SAM device as a biosensor.

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