Microarrays that mediate the uptake of small molecules into living cells are described. Tissue culture cells were seeded onto glass substrates functionalized locally with fluorescently labelled test substances. In order to enable a localized transfer of substances after contact of cells with the substrate, substances were immobilized on the surface either by non-covalent interactions or chemolabile linker groups. These chemolabile linker groups were incorporated into covalently immobilized compounds. Different ester linkages were evaluated as chemolabile linker groups. As model compounds, esters of the carboxy group of a cysteine with the hydroxy groups of carboxyfluorescein-labelled serine amide and tyrosine amide residues or the thiol group of another fluorescein-labelled cysteine amide were generated. Covalent immobilization occurred on maleimide-functionalized glass cover slips. The surface functionalization and release kinetics were assessed by confocal laser scanning microscopy. The fastest release was obtained for the phenolic tyrosine ester. Alternatively, fluorescently labelled peptides were immobilized by non-covalent interactions on glass and on a hydrogel matrix. In order to increase the efficiency of cellular uptake, peptides were N-terminally extended with a cell-penetrating peptide. Uptake of these peptides into cells was confined to the functionalized spots, and was specific for peptides extended with the cell-penetrating peptide.