Two-step cell patterning on planar and complex curved surfaces by precision spraying of polymers

Mauris N. De Silva, Jason Paulsen, Michael J. Renn, David J. Odde

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Controlling adhesion of living animal cells plays a key role in biosensor fabrication, drug-testing technologies, basic biological research, and tissue engineering applications. Current techniques for cell patterning have two primary limitations: (1) they require photolithography, and (2) they are limited to patterning of planar surfaces. Here we demonstrate a simple, precision spraying method for both positive and negative patterning of planar and curved surfaces to achieve cell patterns rapidly and reproducibly. In this method, which we call precision spraying (PS), a polymer solution is aerosolized, focused with sheath airflow through an orifice, and deposited on the substrate using a deposition head to create ∼25 μm sized features. In positive patterning, adhesive molecules, such as laminin or polyethylenimine (PEI) were patterned on polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) substrates in a single spraying operation. A variety of animal cell types were found to adhere to the adhesive regions, and avoid the non-adhesive (bare PDMS) regions. In negative patterning, hydrophobic materials, such as polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) and PDMS, were patterned on glass substrates. Cells then formed patterns on the exposed glass regions and avoided the hydrophobic regions. Cellular patterns were maintained for up to 2 weeks in the presence of serum, which normally fouls non-adhesive regions. Additionally, we found that precision spraying enabled micropatterning of complex-curved surfaces. Our results show that precision spraying followed by cell plating enables rapid and flexible cellular micropatterning in two simple steps.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)919-927
Number of pages9
JournalBiotechnology and Bioengineering
Issue number5
StatePublished - Apr 5 2006


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