A step towards mimicking the natural cell environment

  • Control the confinement speed

    Accurate control of the confinement speed through the vacuum pump

  • Reversible confinement: retrieve your cells after confinement

    Allows molecular analysis thanks to the non-destructive method for the cells

  • Compatible with your own experiments

    The confiner is a small size device that is directly placed on the top of your cell culture

The dynamic cell confiner is a device that allows confining cells between two parallel surfaces with sub-micrometer precision. The space between the two surfaces is controlled by micro PDMS pillars. The micro pillars are fabricated in a glass slide, which is attached to a PDMS piston (suction cup). The piston is controlled with a vacuum pump, and the height of the confinement is thus controlled as well. The device can be used in a petri dish, in a glass substrate, etc.

The dynamic cell confiner kit is composed by:

  • 1 x Elveflow Vacuum & Pressure Generator and 1 x Elveflow AF1 DUAL – Vacuum & Pressure Controller
  • 10 x Confinement Slides – 10 mm (diameter) glass slides/cover slips with micro-structures in PDMS (pillars) that enable the confinement.
    Available confinement heights – from 1, 2, 3, … up to 20 um (choose up to 3 heights to integrate your kit)
  •  3 x 4Dcell Dynamic Confiner™ (PDMS Suction Cup)
  •  1 x security tank (to preserve the vacuum pump)
  •  1 x Kit of Tubes and Connectors

If you want to make your slides adhesive to your cells or not (optional):

  • Aliquots of extracellular matrix protein for cell adhesion (for example, fibronectin) in the right buffer solution
  • Aliquots of anti-adhesive molecule (poly-ethylene glycol) ready to bind on the slides


  • Migration of metastatic cells
  • Cell contractility in mestastasis
  • DNA DSB repair (mechanically induced)
  • Genomic instability (cell division)
  • Separated co-culture



  • Migration of immune cells
  • Imaging of non-adhesive cells



  • Migration of cancer cells
  • Cell differenciation with stiffness control
  • Wound healing
  • Separeted co-culture
  • Cell compression response



  • Cell nucleus integrity



  • Cell nucleus integrity
  • Autophagy related diseases



  • Imaging of non-adhesive cells
  • Planar imaging of organelles



  • Cell volume (cell cycle)
  • Cell stretching response

Video of HeLa cells under confinement using a 4Dcell confiner, going from initial state to extremely confined.

Video of cells dividing under confinement using a 4Dcell confiner

Example of mammalian cells with before and after confinement images with fluorescent proteins
Le Berre M, Aubertin J, Piel M., Fine control of nuclear confinement identifies a threshold deformation leading to lamina rupture and induction of specific genes. Integr Biol (Camb). 2012 Nov;4(11):1406-14.

  • Confinement and Low Adhesion Induce Fast Amoeboid Migration of Slow Mesenchymal Cells
    Y.-J. Liu, M. Piel, Cell, et al., 2015 160(4), 659-672
  • Actin flows induce a universal coupling between cell speed and cell persistence
    P. Maiuri, R. Voituriez, et al., Cell, 2015 161(2), 374–386
  • Geometric friction directs cell migration
    M. Le Berre, M. Piel, et al., Physical Review Letter 2013 111, 198101
  • Mitotic rounding alters cell geometry to ensure efficient spindle assembly
    O. M. Lancaster, B. Baum, et al., Developmental Cell, 2013 25(3), 270-283
  • Fine Control of Nuclear Confinement Identifies a Threshold Deformation leading to Lamina Rupture and Induction of Specific Genes
    M. Le Berre, J. Aubertin, M. Piel, Integrative Biology, 2012 4 (11), 1406-1414
  • Exploring the Function of Cell Shape and Size during Mitosis
    C. Cadart, H. K. Matthews, et al., Developmental Cell, 2014 29(2), 159-169
  • Methods for Two-Dimensional Cell Confinement
    M. Le Berre, M. Piel, et al., 2014, Micropatterning in Cell Biology Part C, Methods in cell biology, 121, 213-29