Fracture-based micro- and nanofabrication for biological applications
While fracture is generally considered to be undesirable in various manufacturing processes, delicate control of fracture can be successfully implemented to generate structures at micro/nano length scales. Fracture-based fabrication techniques can serve as a template-free manufacturing method, and enables highly-ordered patterns or fluidic channels to be formed over large areas in a simple and cost-effective manner. Such technologies can be leveraged to address biologically-relevant problems, such as in the analysis of biomolecules or in the design of culture systems that imitate the cellular or molecular environment. This mini review provides an overview of current fracture-guided fabrication techniques and their biological applications. We first survey the mechanical principles of fracture-based approaches. Then we describe biological applications at the cellular and molecular levels. Finally, we discuss unique advantages of different systems for biological studies.