Whereas low molecular weight liquid crystals (LCs) are too soft to support the culture of fibroblast cells, gels formed by polystyrene microparticles dispersed in LCs can be mechanically tuned to support the cell culture. These self-supporting gels can be readily molded, thus facilitating their use for cell culture, and they contain micrometer-sized domains of LCs that can be oriented by interactions at the surfaces confining the gels.
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