Proliferation of aligned mammalian cells on laser-nanostructured polystyrene

Ester Rebollar, Irene Frischauf, Michael Olbrich, Thomas Peterbauer, Steffen Hering, Johannes Preiner, Peter Hinterdorfer, Christoph Romanin, Johannes Heitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

223 Citations (Scopus)


Biomaterial surface chemistry and nanoscale topography are important for many potential applications in medicine and biotechnology as they strongly influence cell function, adhesion and proliferation. In this work, we present periodic surface structures generated by linearly polarized KrF laser light (248 nm) on polystyrene (PS) foils. These structures have a periodicity of 200-430 nm and a depth of 30-100 nm, depending on the angle of incidence of the laser beam. The changes in surface topography and chemistry were analysed by atomic force microscopy (AFM), advancing water contact-angle measurements, Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy using an attenuated total reflection device (ATR-FTIR) and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS). We show that the surface laser modification results in a significantly enhanced adhesion and proliferation of human embryonic kidney cells (HEK-293) compared to the unmodified polymer foil. Furthermore, we report on the alignment of HEK-293 cells, Chinese hamster ovary (CHO-K1) cells and skeletal myoblasts along the direction of the structures. The results indicate that the presence of nanostructures on the substrates can guide cell alignment along definite directions, and more importantly, in our opinion, that this alignment is only observed when the periodicity is above a critical periodicity value that is cell-type specific.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1796-1806
Number of pages11
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2008


  • Cell morphology
  • Cell proliferation
  • Laser manufacturing
  • Nanotopography
  • Polystyrene


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