Tailoring Surface Properties for lab-on-chip devices

Group: CoCooN

Promotors: Christophe Detavernier and Jolien Dendooven

Supervisor: Sofie Vandenbroucke

For more information, call 09/264.43.42 or contact one of the persons above (contact details are appearing by clicking on the person's name)

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 antifouling properties of molecular layer deposited films will be investigated. Based on the properties of existing antifouling layers, resembling structures will be built-up inside a high vacuum chamber with atomic thickness control. The structure and stability of these groups will be examined with in situ FTIR and ellipsometry and the film will be further characterized ex situ using XRR, XRD, ATR-FTIR... Thanks to our good collaboration with imec, you will have the chance to determine the antifouling properties of these films by exposing the films to fluorescently labelled biomolecules in the life science lab at imec (Leuven) using fluorescent microscopy or a colorimetric assay.