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November 27, 2012 AT 4:07 pm

Living cells captured in pyramid cages

Small-Cell-034

Short Sharp Science: Living cells captured in pyramid cages.

This microscopic pyramid is actually a cage for a living cell, constructed to better observe cells in their natural 3D environment, as opposed to the usual flat plane of a Petri dish.

Researchers from the University of Twente in the Netherlands made the cage by depositing nitrides over silicon pits. When most of the material is peeled away, a  small amount of material remains in the corners to create a pyramid.

Because the pyramids have holes in the sides and are close together, the cells can interact for the most part as they naturally do. 

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