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Kinetic masks: A new approach and device for dispersing biologically relevant fluids

: Meiser, I.; Shirley, S.G.; Zimmermann, H.


Microsystem Technologies 15 (2009), Nr.9, S.1407-1416
ISSN: 0946-7076
Fraunhofer IBMT ()

The controlled dispersion of fluids, particularly biologically relevant solutions in micro-volumes, is of high practical interest in biotechnology and medicine. Pharmaceutical test assays, for example, need a method for the fast and defined deposition of fluid samples. Most current micro-dispensing methods, i.e. contact-based pin printing, have problems such as time delays, limited dosing velocity, minimum volume or high interference that limit biological applications. Spraying techniques suffer from a lack of reproducibility; a defined deposition of samples on targets is not possible. Here, we introduce a new method for the parallel and spatially defined dispersion of many micro-volumes that overcomes disadvantages of common micro-dispensers. The overall approach is that a fluid drop, produced by a droplet generator, falls on a free trajectory with a defined kinetic energy, and is split by a masking unit placed perpendicular to the flight direction into at least two smaller droplets (Zimmermann et al. in Method and device for dosing fluid media, WO/2002/102515, Germany, 2002). On the target, the resulting droplets form reproducible patterns, which are enlarged and scalable images of the grid pattern. Possible applications for this method are non-contact cell patterning, cell encapsulation, cryopreservation and fast mixing processes in micro-volumes. Here, we use this method for the direct and defined parallel positioning of cell suspensions on specific Substrates, which call be useful for test assays, tissue engineering and cryopreservation.