Exercising spatiotemporal control of cell attachment with optically transparent microelectrodes

Sunny S. Shah, Ji Youn Lee, Stanislav Verkhoturov, Nazgul Tuleuova, Emile A. Schweikert, Erlan Ramanculov, Alexander Revzin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


This paper describes a novel approach of controlling cell-surface interactions through an electrochemical "switching" of biointerfacial properties of optically transparent microelectrodes. The indium tin oxide (ITO) microelectrodes, fabricated on glass substrates, were modified with poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) silane to make glass and ITO regions resistant to protein and cell adhesion. Cyclic voltammetry, with potassium ferricyanide serving as a redox reporter molecule, was used to monitor electron transfer across the electrolyte-ITO interface. PEG silane modification of ITO correlated with diminished electron transfer, judged by the disappearance of ferricyanide redox activity. Importantly, application of reductive potential (- 1.4 V vs Ag/AgCl reference) corresponded with reappearance of typical ferricyanide redox peaks, thus pointing to desorption of an insulating PEG silane layer. Time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry (ToF-SIMS) characterization of the silanized ITO surfaces after electrical stimulation indicated complete removal of the silane layer. Significantly, electrical stimulation allowed to "switch" chosen electrodes from nonfouling to protein-adhesive while leaving other ITO and glass regions protected by a nonfouling PEG silane layer. The spatial and temporal control of biointerfacial properties afforded by our approach was utilized to micropattern proteins and cells and to construct micropatterned co-cultures. In the future, control of the biointerfacial properties afforded by this novel approach may allow the organization of multiple cell types into precise geometric configurations in order to create better in vitro mimics of cellular complexity of the native tissues.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6837-6844
Number of pages8
Issue number13
StatePublished - Jul 1 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Spectroscopy
  • Electrochemistry


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