Expanding CR capabilities

In order to address the specific needs of each of the scientific research activities mentioned hereafter, variations of the CR methodology are being developed. For manual operating systems, a microscope slide-based Cell Retainer, containing 7,000 picowells, has been developed. On the other hand, in order to address heavy load measurements, as required for drug discovery, 24- and 96-wells microplate-based CR (MCR) has been developed. In the latter case, each of the 96 "large wells" contains 70,000 picowells. The external shape and dimensions of the MCR are exactly the same as in the commonly used microplates, in order to allow for an easy and fast implementation of the MCR in the existing high-throughput/ high-content screening monitors.
Cutting edge material technology and MEMS (micro-electro-mechanical systems) processing techniques are implemented for the development of advanced CRs. These techniques include Glass microetching, Metal electro-plating, PDMS (polydimethyl siloxane) silicone soft-lithography (enabling rapid CR molding and replicating as well as oxygen permeability through the CR structure), Hydrogel formation (calcium activated, invisible in cell media), Porous materials (enabling a better cell settlement in the CR by applying sub-pressure through the CR, plus the unique capability of reagent diffusion and cell treatment via the CR basis), Teflon embossing (Teflon is hydrophobic and transparent in cell media due to their refractive index match), Sol-gel solidification and UV adhesive polymerization at room temperature.
Combining the optical characteristics with electrochemical sensing/stimulation of cells is being achieved by padding the CR with arrays of individually controlled, in-PW incorporated transparent micro-electrodes. The development of these electrodes, as well as their associated electronic communication, amplification and calibration, represent cutting edge technological capabilities.