Supersoft lithography: candy-based fabrication of soft silicone microstructures†
We designed a fabrication technique able to replicate microstructures in soft silicone materials (E < 1 kPa). Sugar-based ‘hard candy’ recipes from the confectionery industry were modified to be compatible with silicone processing conditions, and used as templates for replica molding. Microstructures fabricated in soft silicones can then be easily released by dissolving the template in water. We anticipate that this technique will be of particular importance in replicating physiologically soft, microstructured environments for cell culture, and demonstrate a first application in which intrinsically soft microstructures are used to measure forces generated by fibroblast-laden contractile tissues.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Nanoengineering for Medicine and Biology (NEMB 2015)