Date of this Version
Adv. Sci. 2020, 7, 2000769 2000769 (1 of 8)
Techniques that enable the spatial arrangement of living cells into defined patterns are broadly applicable to tissue engineering, drug screening, and cell–cell investigations. Achieving large-scale patterning with single-cell resolution while minimizing cell stress/damage is, however, technically challenging using existing methods. Here, a facile and highly scalable technique for the rational design of reconfigurable arrays of cells is reported. Specifically, microdroplets of cell suspensions are assembled using stretchable surface-chemical patterns which, following incubation, yield ordered arrays of cells. The microdroplets are generated using a microfluidic- based aerosol spray nozzle that enables control of the volume/size of the droplets delivered to the surface. Assembly of the cell-loaded microdroplets is achieved via mechanically induced coalescence using substrates with engineered surface-wettability patterns based on extracellular matrices. Robust cell proliferation inside the patterned areas is demonstrated using standard culture techniques. By combining the scalability of aerosol-based delivery and microdroplet surface assembly with user-defined chemical patterns of controlled functionality, the technique reported here provides an innovative methodology for the scalable generation of large-area cell arrays with flexible geometries and tunable resolution.