Over the last 10 years, microfabrication technologies previously used in the realization of microelectronic chips, MEMS, and sensors (MMS), have found a new purpose in biological research. This is particularly true in the active field of “bio-engineering”, in which standard tools and techniques of MMS have been adapted to the fabrication of microstructured substrates with dimensions and geometries close to those of living systems. Briefly, the photolithography process commonly used in that purpose, is based on the insulation of a photosensitive resist under a UV aligner through a shadow mask (also called photomask) that contains the pattern to be etched. These resolutions can only be obtained by employing a thin layer of chromium patterned on a glass or quartz substrate.

The acquisition of the maskless lithography system thanks to the “DIM ELICIT call for equipment” (μPG 101 from HEILDELBERG instruments) gave us the capability to fabricate microstructured features whose size range from 1 µm to 10 µm (order of magnitude for cells) in surface areas up to 10×10 cm2. This very user-friendly equipment is actually used by ~20 peoples coming from several research teams (ENS, Institut Curie, ESPCI, and ENSCP) to develop theirs projects.

In addition, having an in-house maskless lithography equipment has reduced our dependency time on third parties (from 2 weeks to 2-3 days) and has greatly reduced our costs (~450 euros/mask before).

Hommage à Maxime Dahan