Guided corona generates wettability patterns that selectively direct cell attachment inside closed microchannels
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We present a method to create plasma mediated linear protein patterns along the lengths of simple one-inlet-one-outlet straight polydimethylsiloxane microchannels by biasing the delivery of corona discharge at the capillary openings. Pattern widths ranging from 500–1,000 μm were generated in 2 mm wide microchannels with lengths of 0.5, 1.0, or 1.5 cm. Corona-treated surfaces enabled the spatial alignment of C2C12 myoblasts to the adhesive protein-coated regions, facilitating myoblast differentiation into myotubes. Although limited in precision, this protein patterning technique offers the advantages of simplicity and low cost, making it attractive for educational and research environments that lack access to extensive microfabrication facilities. The results also provide a cautionary note to those using corona discharge to increase wettability of microchannels; the surface modification may not be uniform, even within single microchannels being treated depending on settings and positioning of the corona device tips.