Deformable L-shaped microwell array for trapping pairs of heterogeneous cells

Gi Hun Lee, Sung Hwan Kim, Ahran Kang, Shuichi Takayama, Sang Hoon Lee, Joong Yull Park

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


To study cell-to-cell interactions, there has been a continuous demand on developing microsystems for trapping pairs of two different cells in microwell arrays. Here, we propose an L-shaped microwell (L-microwell) array that relies on the elasticity of a polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) substrate for trapping and pairing heterogeneous cells. We designed an L-microwell suitable for trapping single cell in each branch via stretching/releasing the PDMS substrate, and also performed 3D time-dependent diffusion simulations to visualize how cell-secreted molecules diffuse in the L-microwell and communicate with the partner cell. The computational results showed that the secreted molecule first contacted the partner cell after 35 min, and the secreted molecule fully covered the partner cell in 4 h (when referenced to 10% of the secreted molecular concentration). The molecules that diffused to the outside of the L-microwell were significantly diluted by the bulk solution, which prevented unwanted cellular communication between neighboring L-microwells. We produced over 5000 cell pairs in one 2.25 cm2 array with about 30 000 L-microwells. The proposed L-microwell array offers a versatile and convenient cell pairing method to investigate cell-to-cell interactions in, for example, cell fusion, immune reactions, and cancer metastasis.

Original languageEnglish
Article number035005
JournalJournal of Micromechanics and Microengineering
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Mar 1


  • L-shaped microwell
  • cell pairing
  • cell-to-cell interaction
  • single cell trapping
  • substrate deformation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Deformable L-shaped microwell array for trapping pairs of heterogeneous cells'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this