The Surfaces of the ibidi Chambers:
Choose the Ideal Solution for Your Assay

Growth, development, and signaling of cultured cells strongly depend on which surface was used to seed the cells. ibidi offers several surfaces and coatings for different applications. The ibidi μ-Slides, μ-Dishes, and μ-Plates can be coated in a similar process to standard plastic labware, while fully retaining image quality. In our Application Note Cell Culture Coating (AN 08) (PDF), you will find detailed information on how to do your own coating on µ-Slides.

  • ibiTreat: Direct culture of adherent cells; coatings are possible
  • Hydrophobic, Uncoated: Application of user-specific coatings
  • Collagen I: Culture of adherent cells that require a specific extracellular matrix (ECM) on the surface
  • Collagen IV: Culture of adherent cells that require a specific extracellular matrix (ECM) on the surface
  • Poly-L-Lysine: Culture of adherent cells that require a specific extracellular matrix (ECM) on the surface
  • Bioinert: Culture of suspension cells and spheroids
  • Elastically Supported Surface (ESS): Culture of adherent cells on an elastic surface
  • Glass: Application of specific coatings; TIRF or super-resolution microscopy; glass chemistry applications


ibiTreat is our most recommended surface modification, because most adherent cells grow well on it without the need for any additional coating. ibiTreat is the hydrophilic, tissue culture-treated version of the ibidi Polymer Coverslip. This physical surface modification, which is comparable to the tissue culture treatment of standard cell culture vessels, makes the surface hydrophilic and adhesive to virtually all cell types. The ibiTreat surface appears in more than 10,000 peer-reviewed publications. The adhesion of cells to ibiTreat μ-Slides is even strong enough to perform flow experiments that simulate the physiological shear stress of the blood flow.


Human primary keratinocytes on the ibiTreat ibidi Polymer Coverslip.

Hydrophobic, Uncoated

The Uncoated surface does not permit direct cell growth without an additional coating. Therefore, it is not suitable for the standard cultivation of adherent cells. Due to its hydrophobicity, it facilitates the coating with some proteins (e.g., antibodies) or it can be used for non-adherent suspension cells. However, for cells in suspension we recommend using the Bioinert surface, which completely inhibits cell-surface interactions, even in long-term experiments. The Uncoated surface is a hydrophobic version of the ibidi Polymer Coverslip with identical optical properties.

In the ibidi Application Note Cell Culture Coating (AN 08) (PDF) you will find detailed information on how to do your own coating on µ-Slides and µ-Dishes.

Coatings: Collagen I, Collagen IV, and Poly-L-Lysine

For selected µ-Slides, ibidi offers Collagen IV and Poly-L-Lysine precoated surfaces on the ibidi Polymer Coverslip. We also provide a high-quality Collagen Type I, Rat Tail solution for preparing 3D gels and surface coatings.

In the ibidi Application Note Cell Culture Coating (AN 08) (PDF), you will find detailed information on how to do your own coating on µ-Slides using collagen I, collagen IV, fibronectin, poly-L-lysine, or poly-D-lysine.

Please contact us for more coating options.

Collagen I

Collagen type I is the most common type of collagen in the human body. Building collagen fibers, it is present in many parts of the body, such as skin and bone. To promote better cell adherence, culture vessel surfaces, such as the ibidi Polymer Coverslip, can be coated with collagen I. In addition, collagen I 3D gels are frequently used for cell cultivation to stimulate an in vivo-like 3D environment. ibidi provides a high-quality Collagen Type I, Rat Tail that is made from rat tail tendon.

Collagen IV

Collagen type IV is one of the major constituents of the basement membrane, which is a thin layer of the extracellular matrix (ECM). In cell culture, collagen IV is used as a substrate to promote the adherence and proliferation of cells. Collagen IV coatings have been tested for a variety of standard cell lines, such as epithelial, endothelial, neural, and muscle cells. ibidi uses mouse collagen IV (Corning, No. 356233) for the coating.

Poly-L-Lysine (PLL)

Poly-L-lysine (PLL) is a polymer of the essential amino acid L-lysine. This polymer is one of the most commonly used adhesion substrates for cell culture. It is suitable for a large variety of cell types, especially for neuronal cultures. Adhesion is mediated by an integrin-independent mechanism when PLL is used. ibidi uses a commercially available PLL solution (Sigma-Aldrich, No. P4832) for the coating.


RAT1 cells on the ibidi Polymer Coverslip coated with Collagen IV.


The Bioinert surface is a thin polyol hydrogel layer that is covalently bound to the ibidi Polymer Coverslip. This surface inhibits cell-surface interaction and therefore is ideally suited for the culture of suspension cells and spheroids. In contrast to standard ultra-low attachment (ULA) coatings, Bioinert is completely non-adherent and does not allow binding of any biomolecule, even in long-term experiments. Furthermore, the ibidi Polymer Coverslip provides excellent optical properties for high-resolution microscopy. The Bioinert surface is currently available for the µ-Dish 35 mm, high Bioinert.

Elastically Supported Surface (ESS)

In living tissue, cell growing conditions are different from those commonly found in in vitro cell cultures. A parameter that effects cell proliferation, differentiation, and overall cellular function is the stiffness/elasticity of the surface. The elasticity (Young’s modulus) of most cell culture plastics is around 1 gigapascal (GPa). Young’s Modulus of glass is approximately 70 GPa. In contrast to plastic and glass, the Young’s Modulus of mammalian cells (e.g., muscle cells) is below 100 kPa. Therefore, the natural cell environment is at least 100,000 times more elastic than the standardly applied cell culture surfaces.

The elasticity of the ibidi elastically supported surface (ESS) is comparable to that in cells and tissue. The µ-Dish 35 mm, high ESS is available in three different elasticities: 1.5 kPa, 15 kPa, and 28 kPa. These cover the whole range of elasticities found in living tissue, from soft tissue (e.g., brain or gland) to hard tissue (e.g., cartilage or bone).

As the uncoated ESS surface is hydrophobic and does not allow for any direct cell growth, we recommend extracellular matrix coatings, such as collagen or fibronectin.


Cells seeded on ESS can interact with the surface and deform it.


A large variety of the ibidi labware is available with a glass coverslip bottom. The glass coverslip is suitable for all standard ECM coatings (e.g., collagen, fibronectin, and laminin). The surface also allows for the application of all common glass chemistry modifications, such as silanization, plasma treatments, and chemical activation.

Read on and learn more about the ibidi Coverslip Bottom or the Chamber Geometry.