Control the 2D shape of your cells

Micropatterned multiwells plate
Micropatterned slide
Dynamic micropatterned coverslip
Micropatterned Petri dish
Micropatterning fabrication kit
Micropatterning photomask



Cells are cultured in a substrate patterned with adherent micrometer-sized domains of predefined geometric features. When cultured on this, cells adhere specifically to the patterned area, acquiring for example, the geometry of the pattern.


Cell culture supports receive a covalently bounded surface chemistry treatment with an oxidation resistance anti-adhesive polymer. Less sensitive to oxidation than a classical polymer with the same type of covalent bonding to the glass slide. After plated you can keep your cells in the patterns up to 2 weeks. Non used substrates can be stored up to 6 months.

> Different pattern shapes and dimensions (lines, squares, triangles, rectangles, grids, etc.)

> Customized shapes and dimensions

> Adaptable to any cell culture substrate (from Petri dishes to 384 well plates) – from single cell to high throughput and high content screening analysis

> Compatible with high-resolution optical microscopy systems


Dynamic Explorer combines 4Dcell’s micropatterning technology and click chemistry to induce cell migration of cells from pre-defined geometries.


Cells are seeded on a micropatterned substrate and specifically adhere to cell-adhesive regions with very high resolution. The regions around the cells are non adhesive at first but can be ‘switched on’ at any time to release the cells from their patterns.

As with standard micropatterning, it is possible to pattern the cells into customized shapes and dimensions.

> Anti-adhesive polymer

Covalent and electrostatic bonding to the glass slide, stable for up to 3 months

The polymer can be rendered adhesive by a click chemistry reaction

Micropatterns principle
Dynamic micropatterning principle



Cell shape control and standardization, characterization of organelle positioning, cell maturation and differentiation, restriction of the migration area, cellular reprogramming, protein micropatterning, etc.

Micropatterned cells illustration

HeLa cells in lines of 100 to 10 µm width

Labeled 4Dcell micropatterns

Fluorescently labeled fibrinogen – Alexa Fluor 488

Explore examples of application


In a typical experiment using the dynamic micropatterns, cell migration can be monitored in real-time using a live imaging tool or by acquiring images at different timepoints. The images are then processed and analyzed to determine the area of the substrate occupied by cells as a function of time.

Cell migration on micropattern


  • Reprogramming progressive cells display low CAG promoter activity
    Hu Xiao, et al. Stem Cells. 2020 Oct 19. doi: 10.1002/stem.3295
  • Actin flows mediate a universal coupling between cell speed and cell persistence
    Maiuri P, Piel M. et al. Cell. 2015 Apr 9;161(2):374-86.
  • ESCRT-III assembly and cytokinetic abscission are induced by tension release in the intercellular bridge
    Lafaurie-Janvore J, Piel M et al. Science. 2013 Mar 29;339(6127):1625-9.
  • Triggering cell adhesion, migration or shape change with a dynamic surface coating
    van Dongen SF, Piel M. et al. Adv Mater. 2013 Mar 25;25(12):1687-91.
  • External forces control mitotic spindle positioning
    Fink J, Piel M. et al. Nat Cell Biol. 2011 Jun 12;13(7):771-8.
  • Protein micropatterns: A direct printing protocol using deep UVs
    Azioune A, Piel M. et al. Methods Cell Biol. 2010;97:133-46.
  • Simple and rapid process for single cell micropatterning
    Azioune A, Piel M. et al. Lab Chip. 2009 Jun 7;9(11):1640-2.


  • What is 4DCell?
    4Dcell is a biotech company which provides solutions for cellular microenvironment control.Innovation in cell culture methods requires new tools to control the cell microenvironment, like microfluidics and micropatterning. Developing and spreading these technologies for research laboratories and industry is our ambition.
  • What are micropatterns and how can I use them?
    Micropatterns allow you to control the shape of your cells and to have single cell imaging. You can choose between several shapes and sizes, depending on the cell type and on your experimental needs. 4Dcell provides various micropatterned products. Discover them on the Micropatterns page.
  • What is the standard 4Dcell photomask?
    Our mask is 2.5 inches, and allows the microprinting of 4 coverslips (24-25mm diameter) at the same time. Our standard designs consists of 8 areas, with approximately 42 sub-areas fully observable with a 10x objective field. For one slide you have thousands of printed micropatterns. Sizes of the patterns range from 10 to 100 µm. You can see all the features on the standard 4Dcell photomask page.

Read more

  • Is it possible to design my own micropatterns?
    Yes, it is possible. You can order a customized photomask with the features you want. Either you already have the design of the customized photomask and you can directly send it to us (in GDS, DXF, EPS or PDF format) or you can precisely describe what you want and we will take care of the customisation.
  • Is it possible to pattern 18 or 22mm slides?
    Yes, the patterns are organized in such way that you can get all the micropatterns sizes no matter the size of your slides.
  • What is the lab equipment needed to make micropatterns?
    To make micropatterns, 4Dcell provides a micropatterning station with the equipment needed. Basic laboratory materials, such as tweezers or micropipettes, are then mandatory to perform the experiment. Working in a clean environment is necessary to have good results.
  • How stable are the generated micropatterns in presence of cell culture conditions, in aqueous solution?
    The stability of the micropatterns in presence of cells depends on the cell type. Typically, standard PEG treatment used in the 4Dcell micropatterns fabrication kit lasts about 24h. 4Dcell precoated slides and pre-patterned slides use improved anti-adhesive polymer treatments which are more stable (several days of culture). The most stable treatment allows up to weeks of culture in certain conditions. Before usage and stored at room temperature, precoated or prepatterned consumables are stable for months.
  • How efficient is the coating process when using your system – will there likely be patches that do not coat properly? and if so, at what frequency do you typically see this?
    The quality of the micropatterns depends on the precautions taken during the experiment. We also provide already coated slides ready to be printed with micropatterns. The coating is of very high quality and you can choose from 3 different molecules.You can have a look at the webpage of the pre-coated slides.
  • I do not use fibronectin, is it possible to replace it? Do you provide alternative matrix solutions for coating – collagen for instance?
    Yes, it is possible to use a matrix other than fibronectin. We can adjust the content of the kit for you. Contact us so that we can find a solution which fits your needs.
  • How many times can I use the micropatterns photomask?
    In proper conditions, the photomask can be used many times. The most important is to handle it gently during the experiment and to avoid scratching it.
  • Are the slides sterile once coated?
    The solutions used at 4Dcell are all sterile so if you manipulate in sterile conditions, the slides will remain sterile too.
  • Is it possible to pattern something else than eukaryotic cells?
    Yes, you can micropattern other biological objects but you have to adapt the matrix for this specific object (bacteria, for instance).
  • I am wondering about the size of the micropatterned dish, does it have the standard optimal size for confocal imaging or does it need some specific tool?
    The micropatterned dishes are of standard size (35mm diameter, 11mm height), with a glass bottom (between 0.13mm and 0.17mm thickness), adapted to most high magnification objectives of confocal and fluorescence inverted microscopes.We also offer pre-coated and micropatterned slides which you can adapt to your imaging system.
  • Can I get samples to test your system in my lab conditions?
    In order for you to first try the 4Dcell products, we provide affordable starter packs (with either 20 or 50 articles). Therefore, you can have a first impression and confirm your experimental needs before ordering the appropriate products.
  • How do I order and pay?
    When you have decided which products you want to order, you can send us an order form. We will send you an invoice so that you can pay by bank transfer or with a Paypal account.If you have a special request concerning the payment method, contact us and we will find an appropriate solution.
  • What is the delivery time?
    We send the products in a delay of one month from the day we receive the order form.
  • Where do you distribute your products?
    All 4Dcell products can be sent worldwide. 4Dcell works with a Chinese distributor for the Asian market.