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A glass slide covered with bacteria is pressed into another glass slide coated with partially cured polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS). The PDMS is hardened and the cells are removed to create a textured surface whose indentations preferentially capture the same type of bacteria when a mixture of bacteria is flowed over it. Overcoating the cell-imprinted PDMS with methylsilane groups causes the resulting surface to lose much of its ability to preferentially capture the imprinted bacteria, although the shapes of the imprints, measured by atomic force field microscopy, are shown to be hardly affected. We interpret this behavior as strong evidence that chemical recognition plays a dominant role in cell sorting with cell-imprinted PDMS polymer films.

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