Category Archives: µ-Contact-Printer

µContactPrinter

µContactPrinter 4.1

Flexible and fully automatic patterning Platform

The µContact-Printer 4.1 (µCP 4.1) features PDMS stamps with customized stamp patterns. It offers surface patterning at the submicrometer range as well as Nano-Imprint Lithography on one instrument. Move to Procedures for more information. It fits to standard laboratory benches and is highly customizable.

 

Please click here for full introduction video.

 

Main specs:

  • Dimension: 623 mm x 521 mm x 367 mm (Length x width x height)
  • Stamp rack for up to five stamps
  • Substrate table: Adjustable; repeating accuracy < 5 µm (XYφ), aided by built-in video microscope
  • Spin coating device for homogeneous distribution of liquids on substrates
  • Windows based control software, preinstalled on computer

 

µCP 4.1 – Tools

At least three independent Z-Axes

Print head of µCP 4.1

Print head of µCP 4.1

µCP 4.1 comes with three up to six individually lowering Z-axes. The basic setup offers:

  • µCP print head for soft membrane stamps up to 20 mm by 20 mm, integrated alignment microscope and UV adapter for optical fibres (5 mm diameter)
  • Pneumatic dispenser for the deposition of high-viscous liquids like photoresist SU8 and NOA 81 (Norland), respectively
  • Syringe dispenser for the application of low-viscous inks for micro-contact printing

 

µCP 4.1 – Stamps

Disposable Stamps with customized Design

Different Sizes of PDMS stamps for µContactPrinter 4.1

Different Sizes of PDMS stamps for µContactPrinter 4.1

µCP Principle

µCP Principle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Polymer stamps are the heart of the GeSiM microcontact printers. The footprint of the stamp represents particular patterns for each customer and each application.

The proprietary stamping method doesn’t require sophisticated mechanical setups. When the print head touches down the stamp get’s bulged out by air pressure and connects smoothly and without artefacts to the substrate surface,

Liquid Handling on the Micro-Contact-Printer

Big Drops, Small Drops, …

Initially the process starts with a more or less thin layer of liquid. This can be a photo resist for NIL as well as a protein solution for contact printing (Stamp inking). Optionally diverse liquid handling methods are available on the µCP4.1:

  • Displacement pipet tips as you use it in your daily work flow
  • Piezoelectric GeSiM dispensers for managing smallest volumes
  • Piezoelectric valves (Third party) for making smallest drops of high-viscous media

Your application determines what works best. Please contact us for specific information.

 

UV Lamps

Automated Resist Hardening

PDMS-Stamp with UV-lamp behind

PDMS-Stamp with UV-lamp behind

UV lamp Omicure 1500 (Lumen Dynamics)

UV lamp Omicure 1500 (Lumen Dynamics)

 

The µContactPrinter 4.1 can be accomplished by UV lamps of different intensity. One application is the curing of 3D resist structures immediately after nanoimprint lithography. The UV light applies directly through the optical transparent stamp.

 

 

 

Diverse Accessories

More Tools…

Pneumatic extruder for dispensing of pasty suspensions

Pneumatic extruder for dispensing of pasty suspensions

 

 

All you need to adapt the instrument to your applications:

  • Pneumatic extruders using disposable cartridge dispensers (As on the BioScaffold printer BS3.1). Heaters for the extruder is available too.
  • Powder pipet for taking up and dispensing µg amounts
  • Fluidic “flow-through” stamps for applying grains or bead during the microcontact printing process.

PVM-A

Entry-level Microcontact Printer

PVM-A

PVM-A

PVM-A-Scheme

PVM-A-Scheme

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The handheld module fits on regular microscope stages. It is limited to a single stamp but uses the same stamping technique than µContactPrinter 4.1. UV-lamps for resist curing are optionally available.

Microcontact Printing

Create Special Surfaces for Your Cells

This process transfers a sample liquid called “ink” onto a planar target surface. The PDMS stamp is inked with the sample, subsequently pressed onto the surface, thereby transferring the sample only from the high areas, as in letterpress printing.

Stamp Inking

Ink Dispensing

Stamp Inking

Stamp Inking

Drying

Drying

Stamping

Stamping

Patterned Surface

Patterned Surface

Not only chemicals, but also biomolecules, nanoparticles, beads, or cells can be printed. Patterns of proteins like fibronectin or laminin can serve as adhesive substrate to grow cells only on protein-covered areas.

µCP4.1 automatically uses up to five stamps with different inks and different patterns for well aligned prints on the same substrate.

 

NIL – Nanoimprint Lithography

Printing of Microfluidic Structures

Nanoimprint Lithography (NIL) is a popular approach to make disposable microfluidic devices at low numbers. µCP4.1 does the whole process in an unattended run. The instrument has to be supplied with a curable fotopolymer as well as with the printing substrate.

Instead of transferring an ink, the elevated patterns of the PDMS stamp shape their reverse image into a homogeneous layer on the stamp target. In a preceding step, the target surface has to be coated with an appropriated material, e.g. a liquid, UV-hardened, polymer. µCP 4.1 automatically produces homogenuous polymer layers by dispensing and spinning.

Resist dispensing/ Spinning

Resist dispensing/ Spinning

Drying

Drying

Stamping

Stamping

Graves/ Cavities are done

Graves/ Cavities are done

Curing/ Hardening

Curing/ Hardening

3D structures can be printed with SU8 photoresist or NOA (Norland). Heights of up to 150 microns are feasible. The aspect ratio height : width depends on the layout but can easily reach (3…5) : 1.

After detaching of the stamp the printed substrates can be sealed by cover lids in order to achieve microfluidic devices.

 

Grids of Microwells by NIL

Picoliter Wells by NIL

This example of an Israeli customer shows honeycomb shaped picowells at 150 microns size. They were done by nanoimprint lithography (NIL). They consist of UV curable photoresist. Immersed in a cell culture media these structures accomodate a single cell in each cavity.

 

Fibronectin Printing for Stem Cell Adhesion

Surface Patterning by Micro-Contact-Printing

Human Umbilical Cord Blood Neural Stem Cells (HUCB-NSC) were grown on microcontact printed fibronectin squares for a differentiation study.

The squares were printed using PDMS stamp on a cell repellent, plasma polymerized poly-ethylene-oxide (PEO) like surface using fibronectin solution in an acetate buffer as an ink.

Fibronectin pattern

HUCB-NSC cells on micro-contact printed Fibronectin squares – Phase contrast image

Fluorescence Image - Green: β-tubulin-II neuronal marker; Red: GFAP; Blue: Cell nuklei

Fluorescence Image – Green: β-tubulin-II neuronal marker; Red: GFAP; Blue: Cell nuklei

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The cells do not adhere to the PEO coated regions, but are attached to the printed 100 µm fibronectin squares. After the culturing period the cells were fixed and immunostained for glial and neuronal differentiation markers.


Courtesy of EC Joint Research Centre, Nanobiosciences Unit, Ispra, Italy (Dora Mehn)

 

Nanolitre Wells with Electrode Patterns

NIL for in vitro Neurotoxicity Assay Development

Electrodes of the MEA chip in the bottom of the 100 x 100 x 50 µm wells

Electrodes of the MEA chip in the bottom of the 100 x 100 x 50 µm wells

Microelectrode array chambers (MEA chips) were applied as a support to generate 3D microwell environment for neural cells in electrical activity measurement studies.

The PVM -A combined with UV illumination and the 24 well stamp bodies were used to generate imprints with 100 µm sized wells and interconnecting channels aligned to the electrodes of the multi-electrode arrays. The matrix of PEG based hydrogel was polymerized by 60 s UV treatment.

 

 

Scanning electron microscopic image of one well of the microarray (by Cesar Pasqual Garcia)

Scanning electron microscopic image of one well of the microarray (by Cesar Pasqual Garcia)

Primary (rat) neurons grown forming a network in the microwells; Green: β-tubulin-II neuronal marker, Blue: cell nuclei. (by Jakub Nowak)

Primary (rat) neurons grown forming a network in the microwells; Green: β-tubulin-II neuronal marker, Blue: cell nuclei. (by Jakub Nowak)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Courtesy of EC Joint Research Centre, Nanobiosciences Unit, Ispra, Italy (Dora Mehn)