Controlled deposition and multi-layer architecturing of single biomolecules using automated directed capillary assembly and nano-contact printing processes

Hélène Cayron a, b, d, Benjamin Berteloite d, Christophe Vieu a, b, Vincent Paveau d, Jean-Christophe Cau d, Aline Cerf a, c.
  • a. CNRS; LAAS; 7 avenue du colonel Roche, F-31400 Toulouse, France
  • b. Université de Toulouse, INSA, LAAS; F-31400 Toulouse, France
  • c. Université de Toulouse, LAAS, F-31400 Toulouse, France
  • d. Innopsys, Carbonne 31390, Franc


Up to date, a large amount of research studies have been carried out to manipulate and arrange biomolecules at the single molecule scale using capillary forces. However, many of these techniques remain in the fundamental research field, their industrial transfer being restricted by poor repeatability and user-dependent processes. We present an automated process for the controlled and large scale deposition of single biomolecules, relying on the use of directed capillary assembly and nano-contact printing processes. The adjustment and control of physical parameters allow for single molecule deposition, and the use of an automate operating arm ensures high reproducibility and freedom in the assembly architectures to create. This methodology was used to assemble DNA molecules and actin filaments (or F-actin), evidencing two distinct assembly mechanisms. In the first one we use capillary forces to trap and elongate preformed 1D structures such as DNA molecules. In the second case, fluid flows created upon evaporation and local pinning of the meniscus favor the F-actin polymerization through continuous supply of monomers. In this way, we introduce a new concept of using capillary assembly as a construction tool to assemble 1D nano-structures. Additionally, by sequentially aligning and printing multiple single molecule assemblies, large-scale multi-layer architectures of single molecules were also obtained. The large-scale capabilities and reliability of our fabrication process render sophisticated single molecule biophysical measurements possible with systematic analysis over a large population for statistical relevance.


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