Microwell Arrays for Studying Many Individual Cells
Friday, May 01 2009
“Laboratory-on-a-chip” devices that enable the simultaneous culturing and interrogation of many individual living cells have been invented. Each such device includes a silicon nitride-coated silicon chip containing an array of micromachined wells sized so that each well can contain one cell in contact or proximity with a patch clamp or other suitable single-cell-interrogating device. At the bottom of each well is a hole, typically ≈ 0.5 μm wide, that connects the well with one of many channels in a microfluidic network formed in a layer of poly(dimethylsiloxane) on the underside of the chip. The microfluidic network makes it possible to address wells (and, thus, cells) individually to supply them with selected biochemicals. The microfluidic channels also provide electrical contact to the bottoms of the wells.