Monolithic 3D labs- and organs-on-chips obtained by lithography-based ceramic manufacture

  • Andrés Díaz Lantada
  • Adrián de Blas Romero
  • Martin Schwentenwein
  • Christopher Jellinek
  • Johannes Homa
  • Josefa Predestinación García-Ruíz
Open Access


In this study, we present a novel approach for the design and development of three-dimensional monolithic ceramic microsystems with complex geometries and with potential applications in the biomedical field, mainly linked to labs-on-chips and organs-on-chips. The microsystem object of study stands out for its having a complex three-dimensional geometry, for being obtained as a single integrated element, hence reducing components, preventing leakage and avoiding post-processes, and for having a cantilever porous ceramic membrane aimed at separating cell culture chambers at different levels, which imitates the typical configuration of transwell assays. The design has been performed taking account of the special features of the manufacturing technology and includes ad hoc incorporated supporting elements, which do not affect overall performance, for avoiding collapse of the cantilever ceramic membrane during debinding and sintering. The manufacture of the complex three-dimensional microsystem has been accomplished by means of lithography-based ceramic manufacture, the additive manufacturing technology which currently provides the most appealing compromises between overall part size and precision when working with ceramic materials. The microsystem obtained provides one of the most remarkable examples of monolithic bio-microsystems and, to our knowledge, a step forward in the field of ceramic microsystems with complex geometries for lab-on-chip and organ-on-chip applications. Cell culture results help to highlight the potential of the proposed approach and the adequacy of using ceramic materials for biological applications and for interacting at a cellular level.


Lithography-based ceramic manufacture Labs-on-chips Organs-on-chips Ceramic materials processing Biomedical microsystems MEMS Bio-MEMS 


Compliance with ethical standards

The experiments with hMSCs have been performed with the approval and following the guidelines of the Research Ethic Committee of Autonoma University of Madrid (UAM).

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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© The Author(s) 2017

Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andrés Díaz Lantada
    • 1
  • Adrián de Blas Romero
    • 1
  • Martin Schwentenwein
    • 2
  • Christopher Jellinek
    • 2
  • Johannes Homa
    • 2
  • Josefa Predestinación García-Ruíz
    • 3
  1. 1.Product Development Laboratory, Department of Mechanical EngineeringUniversidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM)MadridSpain
  2. 2.Lithoz GmbHViennaAustria
  3. 3.Departamento de Biología MolecularUniversidad Autónoma de MadridMadridSpain

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