A method of forming three-dimensional shaped microparticles in a microfluidic device includes flowing a mixture of a monomer and photoinitiator in a microfluidic channel having a plurality of pillars disposed therein to define a flow stream having a pre-defined shape and temporarily stopping the same. One or more portions of the flow stream are polymerized by passing polymerizing light through one or more masks and onto the flow stream, the polymerization process forming a plurality of three-dimensional shaped microparticles. The three-dimensional shape of the microparticle may be geometrically complex by using non-rectangular 2D orthogonal shapes for the flow and/or masked light source. The microparticles may include protected regions on which cells can be adhered to and protected from shear forces. The flow stream is restarted to flush out the newly formed microparticles and prepare the device for the next cycle of particle formation.
Carlo, Dino Di, Chueh-Yu Wu