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Keywords:

  • compliant substrates;
  • stiffness gradients;
  • durotaxis;
  • atomic force microscopy
Thumbnail image of graphical abstract

Polyacrylamide gels are cast upon a stiff support with controlled topography, resulting in a thin gel layer of variable height. The topographical profiles project a stiffness map onto the gel, resulting in controlled linear and non-linear 2D stiffness gradients. Fibroblasts, which migrate towards stiffer substrates, accumulate in areas with a gel thickness below 15 μm.