Flexible elastomer patch with vertical silicon nanoneedles for intracellular and intratissue nanoinjection of biomolecules

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Science Advances  09 Nov 2018:
Vol. 4, no. 11, eaau6972
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aau6972


Vertically ordered arrays of silicon nanoneedles (Si NNs), due to their nanoscale dimension and low cytotoxicity, could enable minimally invasive nanoinjection of biomolecules into living biological systems such as cells and tissues. Although production of these Si NNs on a bulk Si wafer has been achieved through standard nanofabrication technology, there exists a large mismatch at the interface between the rigid, flat, and opaque Si wafer and soft, curvilinear, and optically transparent biological systems. Here, we report a unique methodology that is capable of constructing vertically ordered Si NNs on a thin layer of elastomer patch to flexibly and transparently interface with biological systems. The resulting outcome provides important capabilities to form a mechanically elastic interface between Si NNs and biological systems, and simultaneously enables direct imaging of their real-time interactions under the transparent condition. We demonstrate its utility in intracellular, intradermal, and intramuscular nanoinjection of biomolecules into various kinds of biological cells and tissues at their length scales.

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