On-chip neural cell cultivation using agarose-microchamber array constructed by a photothermal etching method

Hiroyuki Moriguchi*, Kazunori Takahashi, Yoshihiro Sugio, Yuichi Wakamoto, Ippei Inoue, Yasuhiko Jimbo, Kenji Yasuda

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


We have developed a novel method for on-chip cultivation of neural cells in a flexible agarose-microchamber array on a glass slide. The agarose microchamber is a micrometer-order cavity constructed on the surface of an agarose layer by molding a 50-μm-high square/circular micro-cast of thick SU-8 photoresist. In addition, the shape of the agarose microchamber was rearranged by using the photothermal etching method, in which we used an infrared (1064-nm) focused laser beam as the heat source to melt and remove a portion of agarose gel at the heating spot. With the photothermal etching method, we can also manufacture narrow tunnel-shaped channels between microchambers. When nerve cells were cultured on the agar-microchamber array chip, the nerve cells in two adjacent microchambers connected through the photothermal-etched channel after 48 hours of cultivation. Those results suggest the potential of an agarose-microchamber array integrated with the photothermal etching method for the next stage of single cell cultivation and measurement of nerve cells, such as real-time control of cell interactions during cultivation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37-42
Number of pages6
JournalElectrical Engineering in Japan (English translation of Denki Gakkai Ronbunshi)
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2004 Jan 30
Externally publishedYes


  • Agarose
  • Microchamber array
  • Nerve cell
  • Photothermal etching
  • Shape rearrangement during cultivation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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