Laser-guided assembly of heterotypic three-dimensional living cell microarrays

Biophys J. 2006 Nov 1;91(9):3465-73. doi: 10.1529/biophysj.106.084079. Epub 2006 Aug 4.


We have assembled three-dimensional heterotypic networks of living cells in hydrogel without loss of viability using arrays of time-multiplexed, holographic optical traps. The hierarchical control of the cell positions is achieved with, to our knowledge, unprecedented submicron precision, resulting in arrays with an intercell separation <400 nm. In particular, we have assembled networks of Swiss 3T3 fibroblasts surrounded by a ring of bacteria. We have also demonstrated the ability to manipulate hundreds of Pseudomonas aeruginosa simultaneously into two- and three-dimensional arrays with a time-averaged power <2 mW per trap. This is the first time to our knowledge that living cell arrays of such complexity have been synthesized, and it represents a milestone in synthetic biology and tissue engineering.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Biological Assay / instrumentation*
  • Biological Assay / methods
  • Cell Culture Techniques / instrumentation*
  • Cell Culture Techniques / methods
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Equipment Design
  • Equipment Failure Analysis
  • Humans
  • Lasers
  • Microarray Analysis / instrumentation*
  • Microfluidic Analytical Techniques / instrumentation*