Tailoring Surface Properties for lab-on-chip devices

Group: CoCooN

Promotor: Christophe Detavernier

Supervisor: Sofie Vandenbroucke

Easy-to-use smart electronic devices have the potential to considerably improve health diagnostics. For example, lab-on-chip devices (LOC’s) allow the rapid and early detection of biomarkers at the point-of care, greatly improving a patient’s recovery or survival chances. Compared to conventional laboratory techniques LOC’s have a smaller footprint, lower cost and need smaller analyte volumes needed, enabling the miniaturization of medical technologies. LOC’s consist of multiple biosensor areas integrated into a microfluidic platform, allowing an automatic and in-flow detection of analyte inside microfluidic channels (figure 1). Controlling the surface properties inside these microfluidic channels is essential to interface with biology. Antifouling coatings should be present on the non-sensing areas and channel sidewalls to prevent loss of analyte, while bioreceptor molecules must be covalently and site-specifically bounded to the biosensor areas.

Figure 1: Schematic illustration of a microfluidic channel inside a LOC. (Copyright imec)
Figure 1: Schematic illustration of a microfluidic channel inside a LOC. (Copyright imec)

In this master thesis, the bio-functional properties of various atomic and molecular layer deposited films will be investigated. For example, functional groups will be introduced on the surface during atomic layer deposition for the selective binding of biomolecules. The presence and stability of these groups will be confirmed with FTIR and the film will be further characterized. Thanks to our good collaboration with imec, you will have the chance to investigate the selective binding of biomolecules to these films in the life science lab at imec (Leuven) using fluorescent microscopy or a colorimetric assay.