Cells in vitro usually require a solid scaffold to attach and form two-dimensional monolayer structures. To obtain a substrate-free cell monolayer, long culture time and specific detaching procedures are required. In this study, a thin-film-flow-induced strategy is reported to overcome the challenges of assembling in vitro scaffold-free monolayered cell aggregates. The assembly is driven by a dewetting-like thin-film withdrawal along all-aqueous interfaces characterized by a low interfacial tension. The withdrawal process drives the cells adsorbed on the liquid film to aggregate and assemble into an organized and compact monolayer. This strategy is not limited to biological cells but also colloidal particles, as demonstrated by the assembly of hybrid cell-particle monolayers. The versatility offered by this approach suggests new opportunities in understanding early tissue formation and functionalizing cell monolayer aggregates by colloidal particles with customized functions.
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