3D Printing of large areas of highly ordered submicron patterns for modulating cell behavior

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Fabricating large areas of geometrically complex and precisely controlled topographies is required for the studies of cell behavior on patterned surfaces. Direct laser writing (DLW) is an advanced 3D-fabrication technique, which facilitates the manufacturing of structures within various scales (from a few hundred nanometers to millimeters). However, this method requires improvements in the accuracy and reproducibility of the submicron and nanoscale features that are printed over a large area. Here, we present a scheme to both improve the uniformity of the printed submicron patterns and decrease the printing time. The effects of various processing parameters (e.g., laser power and writing field) on the dimensions and uniformity of submicron pillars as well as on their Young’s modulus and surface wettability were assessed. Decreasing the writing field to 33 × 33 μm2 significantly improved the uniformity of submicron pillars that were printed over an area of 4 mm2 in a single-step process. Preosteoblast cells (MC3T3-E1) were used to assess the cytocompatibility of the used material (IP-L780 resin) with a focus on cell morphology, cell proliferation, cytoskeletal organization, and the elastic modulus of the cells. The cells cultured for 2 days on the submicron pillars showed a polarized shape and a higher Young’s modulus of the area corresponding to the nucleus relative to those cultured on flat surfaces. Taken together, the results of the current study clearly show that the submicron patterns created using DLW are both cytocompatible and could modulate the morphology and mechanical properties of cells. This work paves the way for direct printing of submicron features with controlled Young’s moduli over large areas in a single-step process, which is necessary for systematically studying how such patterns modulate cellular functions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)200-208
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Direct laser writing
  • topography
  • cell-surface interaction
  • 3D printing
  • submicron pillars
  • Young’s modulus


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