Cryopreservation is the most promising way for long-term storage of biological samples e.g., single cells and cellular structures. Among various cryopreservation methods, vitrification is advantageous by employing high cooling rate to avoid the formation of harmful ice crystals in cells. Most existing vitrification methods adopt direct contact of cells with liquid nitrogen to obtain high cooling rates, which however causes the potential contamination and difficult cell collection. To address these limitations, we developed a non-contact vitrification device based on an ultra-thin freezing film to achieve high cooling/warming rate and avoid direct contact between cells and liquid nitrogen. A high-throughput cell printer was employed to rapidly generate uniform cell-laden microdroplets into the device, where the microdroplets were hung on one side of the film and then vitrified by pouring the liquid nitrogen onto the other side via boiling heat transfer. Through theoretical and experimental studies on vitrification processes, we demonstrated that our device offers a high cooling/warming rate for vitrification of the NIH 3T3 cells and human adipose-derived stem cells (hASCs) with maintained cell viability and differentiation potential. This non-contact vitrification device provides a novel and effective way to cryopreserve cells at high throughput and avoid the contamination and collection problems.
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