Device for cellular adhesion control


Research is currently being carried out on a number of materials and devices that have the ability to restore the activity of different biological tissues and cells. For example, researchers hope to create an implantable device that can reconnect human neurons with post synaptic cells to restore or improve lost neuronal functions. Some existing devices include cochlear implants, and neural interface devices for the central nervous system that can regulate mood disorders, epilepsy or symptoms of Parkinson’s disease through the delivery of electric charges with deep brain stimulation.

In applications relating to brain machine interfaces, there is a need for interfaces in which the synaptic connections of neurons can be grown on artificial substrates. The growth should be controlled and precisely directed to defined locations, which led to the idea of using nanotechnology processing steps: the technology makes it possible to create channels, wells or pillars on the surface of semiconductor chips, and therefore to control cell growth following a designed pattern.


The Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST) has developed a semi-conductor material with an original composition, shown to be a non-toxic biocompatible material which inhibits cell growth on its surface. By patterning the surface, cell growth can be precisely directed along the well-defined two- or three-dimensional patterns.


  • enables the design of light responsive implantable substrates.
  • particularly suitable for recording and/or sending information directly from/to the cells contacted by the implant
  • may also promote the controlled growth of cells by electrical or optical stimuli

Potential Applications

This technology can be used:

  • in vitro, as tools designed for studying the formation and plasticity of small neural circuits
  • in vivo, in brain-machine interfaces, for which the synaptic connections of neurons grown on artificial substrates in accordance with the invention can be controlled and precisely directed to defined locations
Research domains
  • Materials

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Intellectual Property

Patent application filed in collaboration with the Luxembourg Institute of Health on September 10, 2014 under reference LU 92539 and international patent application filed on September 10, 2015. Published under reference WO201638158.

Collaboration Types

  • Joint further development
  • Testing of new applications
  • Adaptation to specific needs


Dr Jean-Sébastien THOMANN
Dr Jean-Sébastien THOMANN
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