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Self-Loading Lithographically Structured Microcontainers: 3D Patterned, Mobile Microwells

Timothy Leong1, Bryan Benson1, Christina Randall2, Aasiyeh Zarafshar1, and David H. Gracias1. (1) Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Johns Hopkins University, 125 Maryland Hall, 3400 N Charles Street, Baltimore, MD 21218, (2) Department of Biomedical Engineering, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD 21218

We describe photolithographically structured, mobile microcontainers that load themselves as they self-assemble en masse at low temperatures (~40C); these containers enable a method of parallel loading at biologically-compatible temperatures. The assembly of the microcontainers is thermally triggered, without the need for any external connections. This untethered nature, coupled with the use of ferromagnetic materials in the microcontainers, allows for remote-controlled guidance. Additionally, photolithography enables the containers to be fabricated with precisely-engineered monodisperse sizes, shapes, and surface porosity. We demonstrate the self-loading of glass beads, and to highlight the low temperature process, cells and embryos.