Microcell arrays – obtain more accurate data from single living cells

Understanding how mammalian cells function requires a dynamic perspective. Recent improvements in our abilities to perform fluorescence microscopy on primary cells, coupled with advances in pipelines for quantifying and extracting data, have made possible a better understanding of the temporal complexity of cell signalling pathway. Due to the heterogeneity seen in both eukaryotic and prokaryotic cell populations, study at the single cell resolution with living cells is currently the best solution to understand the dynamics between environmental conditions and cellular behaviour.

However as living cells don’t stay still, classical imaging and studying methods present some drawbacks for single cell analysis and tracking such as:

  • Limited analysis as cells migrate in/out of view
  • Aggregation of cells limits tracking of single cells
  • Limited view of entire cell population

To overcome all these issues, Microsurfaces (Melbourne, Australia*) have developed cell culture surfaces for imaging and functional analysis at single cell level. This technology enables the tracking of dynamic processes across multiple generations at the single cell resolution without fixing cells: the microcell array.

Watch the difference between without (left), and with microgrid arrays (right):


With use of a non-adhesise polymer patterned inserted in cell culture ware, the microcell array technology allows living cell visualization over long periods by physically confining them without isolation.

With this innovative polymer insert, the microcell array brings many advantages over “classical” cell study technology:

  • Microsurfaces microcell array technology at tebu-bio.comNo new protocols or new procedure development required to run your experiments
  • Easy tracking and live imaging of single / multiple cells from hours to day (No artefact due to neutral polymer)
  • Study of dynamic changes or processes across multiple generations possible on the same cells
  • Increased data collection by separating cells into sub populations
  • Microcell technology can easily be incorporated into a large range of imaging or cell culture platforms without adhesive

To allow you to easily obtain high resolution single/multiple cell spatial and temporal data working with living cells and notably with single cell populations, Microsurfaces offer four arrays based on the microcell technology.

microgrid array

Microsurfaces microgrid array at tebu-bio.com

Microsurfaces microgrid array at tebu-bio.com

The microgrid array consists of square bottom nano and pico litre well arrays that are very successful in confining adherent and non-adherent cells, and also suitable for medium and low resolution imaging of  living cells.

The microstructured surfaces enables you to confine sub-populations of cells for experiments such as: High content imaging and analysis, Fluorescent Live cell imaging, Cell tracking, Cell-Cell interactions, Lineage trees, Cell proliferation and also Immunofluorescence.

microwell array

Microsurfaces microwell array at tebu-bio.com

The microwell arrays are nano and pico liter well arrays with a flat bottom profile that is perfectly adapted to confining adherent and non-adherent cells.

The size, shape and density of the individual wells in the microwell arrays enable you to perform Single cell sequencing, High content imaging and Fluorescent Live cell imaging, Cell tracking, Imaging Cell-Cell interactions, Lineage trees, Cell proliferation and also Immunofluorescence.

As for for the microgrid, the size and shape of the microwell arrays are suitable for medium and low resolution imaging of cells over extended periods of time ranging from hours to days.

micromesh array

The micromesh arrays contain circular or square hole arrays through a thin polymer membrane that can be used to create nano liter wells. The mesh format can be used with cell culture ware that contains biologically treated surfaces resulting in a micro-well with an active base and hydrophobic walls.

The microstructured mesh of the micromesh arrays enables you to confine sub-populations of cells for high content imaging and fluorescent live cell analysis, Cell tracking, Cell-Cell interaction, Lineage trees, Immunofluorescence, and also Cell Membrane imaging.

In addition to their capacity of allowing high, medium and low resolution imaging the through holes in the micromesh arrays, they are perfect as a micro stencil for producing micropatterned protein arrays.

Microsurfaces micromesh array at tebu-bio.comMicrosurfaces micromesh array at tebu-bio.com

 microEB array

The microEB arrays have a parabolic profile that are extremely useful in growing three-dimensional spherical embryoid bodies. Each individual well has a nano litre volume.

The size and shape of the microEB arrays enable medium and low resolution imaging, Embryoid body formation, High content imaging and analysis and cell tracking.

Microsurfaces microEB array at tebu-bio.com Uniform spherical embryoid body formation - Microsurfaces microEB array at tebu-bio.com

Custom microcell array

If your experimental parameters require a custom designed microgrid, micromesh or microwell array for cell culture and imaging applications or a unique stencil shape for protein micropatterning, Microsurfaces can manufacture custom designs upon request. If this is of interest to you, get in touch with me through the form below to look at the details of your project.


Leave your questions and comments below, I’ll be pleased to get back to you!

* Microsurfaces products are available in Europe through tebu-bio.


All these different arrays based on the microcell technology are already well accepted, validated and used by the scientific community as reflected by all the recent publications and videos available:

More Videos

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3 Responses

  1. Hello,

    I’m interested in this micromesh tool for my study, I plan to place this on my gold surface with protein coating for cell assays.

    The whole assembly would be immersed in the culture medium for live cell imaging. Will this mesh stay well on the surface as it’s tricky to permanently bind PDMS on gold?


    1. Dear Dr Li,

      I would like to apologize for the delay in my answer. I confirm you that your request has been sent to the technical service of our supplier.

      I will come abck to you as soon as I have a feedback from them.

      Best regards,


      1. Dear Frédéric,

        Thanks for your reply!
        I have ordered the meshes and am using it now for my studies.


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