Capillary pinning assisted patterning of cell-laden hydrogel microarrays in microchips

Burcu Gumuscu*, Jan C.T. Eijkel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


We present a capillary pinning technique that gives complete control on the local patterning of hydrogel structures in closed microchips. The technique relies on selective trapping of liquids at predefined locations in a microchip using capillary barriers. In selective patterning, the abrupt expansion in the cross-sectional geometry of a microchannel at capillary barriers results in a confined advancement of the liquid–air meniscus. This protocol describes a detailed procedure to design and fabricate microarrays of different hydrogel types, fabricated with photopolymerization or thermogelation. The process can be subdivided into two parts. First, a PDMS microchip containing microfeatures with customized patterns is fabricated. Second, the microchip is filled with a hydrogel precursor to be cross-linked by either photopolymerization or thermogelation. The production of the microchip takes approximately 2 days, depending on the substrate selection. Preparation of the hydrogel solutions takes 1–2 h, whereas the patterning and reaction to cross-link the hydrogels is completed in a few minutes.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMethods in Molecular Biology
Subtitle of host publicationMethods and Protocols
Place of PublicationNew York, NY
PublisherHumana Press
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-4939-7792-5
ISBN (Print)978-1-4939-7791-8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018

Publication series

NameMethods in Molecular Biology
ISSN (Print)1064-3745
ISSN (Electronic)1940-6029


  • Cell-laden hydrogel arrays
  • Collagen
  • Fabrication
  • Hydrogel microarrays
  • Microfluidic chip
  • Polyacrylamide
  • Polyethylene glycol diacrylate
  • Thermogelation
  • UV induced polymerization


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