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Nat Mater. 2011 Sep 4;10(11):877-83. doi: 10.1038/nmat3108.

Digitally tunable physicochemical coding of material composition and topography in continuous microfibres.

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Department of Biomedical Engineering, College of Health Science, Korea University, Seoul, Republic of Korea.


Heterotypic functional materials with compositional and topographical properties that vary spatiotemporally on the micro- or nanoscale are common in nature. However, fabricating such complex materials in the laboratory remains challenging. Here we describe a method to continuously create microfibres with tunable morphological, structural and chemical features using a microfluidic system consisting of a digital, programmable flow control that mimics the silk-spinning process of spiders. With this method we fabricated hydrogel microfibres coded with varying chemical composition and topography along the fibre, including gas micro-bubbles as well as nanoporous spindle-knots and joints that enabled directional water collection. We also explored the potential use of the coded microfibres for tissue engineering applications by creating multifunctional microfibres with a spatially controlled co-culture of encapsulated cells.

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