Nanoprinting with FluidFM®


Print any pattern at sub-micrometer resolution.

Writing and spotting at the micro- and nanoscale. With any ink. In liquid & air. 

In the quest for technological miniaturization, researchers need precise tools to manipulate, create and prototype on the nano- and microscale. FluidFM technology with its microfluidic probes offers unprecedented versatility and control to print patterns and explore nanostructure creation. Whether you are working with protein arrays for sensing applications, chemical gradients for cell migration studies, want to understand chemical processes in femtoliter droplets, or are interested to develop the next generation of nano-fabrication processes – FluidFM will open new doors for your research.

From femtoliter to nanoliter

Print femtoliter droplets or deposit up to nanoliter volumes.

From nm to cm 

Print features as small as 300 nm and create patterns up to cm in scale. 

1 to 10’000 cP viscosity 

Customers have printed with inks from 1 to 10’000 cP. From water to honey.

In air and in liquid

FluidFM technology works both immersed and in ambient conditions.

Wide range of inks

Water. Buffers. Oils. Acids. Solvents. Nanoparticles. And more.

Empower your research with FluidFM

How FluidFM boosts your nanoprinting experiments

Any pattern from µm to cm at sub-micrometer resolution

Our long-range XY-stage enables precise printing of 2.5D patterns at any size from µm to cm at sub-micrometer resolution. Spots can be printed from micro- to nanoscale with the appropriate FluidFM probe type.

 
 
FluidFM probe consumable integrating reservoir and micro- or nano- meter sized FluidFM nozzle/printing tip

A close view of the FluidFM probe consumable, integrating reservoir and micro- or nano- meter sized FluidFM nozzle/printing tip.

With any ink

Any liquid with viscosities ranging from 1 cP to 10'000 cP (water to honey) can be pipetted into the 1 µl reservoir and dispensed through our FluidFM probes made of silicon nitride. If needed, probes can be coated before use, eg with anti-fouling surface chemistry. Use virtually any soluble substance: DNA, RNA, proteins, nanoparticle solutions and many other.

From nl to fl. Highly reproducible.

FluidFM can deposit volumes anywhere from sub fl to nL, depending on probe type and printing parameters. Thanks to the highly reproducible FluidFM probe geometry and the precise, pressure-controlled flow, you can expect reproducible results over many experiments. The video shows an example of ~1 nL and ~50 fL droplet printing of protein solution on a functionalized surface in air.

 
 

Print in liquid and in air. 

Material can be deposited both in liquid and air environment. When printing in air, the material transfer to a surface is mainly governed by pressure and capillary forces, while in liquid pressure and diffusion are key factors.

Print next to living cells

FluidFM can operate immersed - on live cell cultures. Guide cell migration through chemical or protein printed patterns. Shower selected single cells with chemicals. Observe the effects real-time within the cell culture context, as FluidFM is fully compatible with inverted microscopes and transparent samples.

FluidFM Nanoprinting - Preview & printed pattern

Top: Preview of the pattern. Bottom: Fluorescence image of "FluidFM" printed with a nanopipette containing a solution of glycerol and propidium iodide.

Fast preparation & intuitive software

With the FluidFM OMNIUM, the experiment preparation just takes 5 minutes and the user-friendly software makes the process extremely easy:

  • Fill the reservoir of the chosen FluidFM probe

  • Place probe & sample into the system

  • Load your printing file containing the pattern

  • Follow the software instructions & recommended procedures

  • Preview your pattern and start the printing

  • The system autonomously prints according to the loaded file

  • Instruct the system to take the required images


Choose the most adequate nozzle geometry and size

Distinct patterns in various sizes can be easily printed due to the variety of available probe tips and aperture sizes ranging from 300 nm to 8 µm).

Use Cases

Learn how FluidFM is used, among others, to create droplet arrays from fL to nL or to print and scan with the same probe.

Selected FluidFM publications on nanoprinting

J. Zhang, H. Yu, B. Harris, et al. New Means to Control Molecular Assembly. ACS Publications, 2020.


 A. Saftics et al. Biomimetic dextran-based hydrogel layers for cell micropatterning over large areas using the FluidFM BOT technology. Langmuir, 2019


S. Mishra, Y. Lee & J. W. Park. Direct quantification of trace amounts of a chronic myeloid leukemia biomarker using locked nucleic acid capture probes.  Analytical Chemistry, 2018.


M. J. Aebersold et al. Local Chemical Stimulation of Neurons with the Fluidic Force Microscope. (FluidFM). ChemPhysChem, 1439-7641, 2017.


J.V. de Souza et al. Three-Dimensional Nanoprinting via Direct Delivery. The Journal Of Physical Chemistry B, 2017.


H. Dermutz et al. Local polymer replacement for neuron patterning and in situ neurite guidance. Langmuir: the ACS journal of surfaces and colloids, 30(23), 7037 — 46, 2014.

How it works


Based on hollow force-controlled FluidFM probes

The core principle of FluidFM enabling writing and spotting at the micro- and nanoscale are our patented, hollow force-controlled probes. A gentle positive pressure through the microfluidic channel of a FluidFM probe allows to dispense liquids of any viscosities - from water to honey. Distinct patterns in various sizes can be easily printed due to the variety of available probe tips and aperture sizes.
More on FluidFM probes & technology

FluidFM probes can be used with the FluidFM ADD-ON in combination with an existing AFM or with our standalone FluidFM OMNIUM system.
Learn more on the differences below

System comparison - FluidFM ADD-ON vs FluidFM OMNIUM

Find out which system fits your application and needs

Find out more about our systems