ESR 11 - Automated microfluidic platform development for advanced screening analysis

Host: UNICZ; Supervisor: Gerardo Perozziello, Enzo Di Fabrizio

The overall objective of this PhD study is the development of a microfluidic platform which will allow to interface a microfluidic device to set-ups allowing to control it fluidically and thermally in a standard way. Moreover, the platform will be compatible to most commercial optical microscopes which will allow to perform optical analysis. In particular, the microfluidic platform will integrate in the optical set-up plasmonic sensors for label free- analysis of biological samples.

The specific objectives are:

  1. Development for a plug and play technology for coupling microfluidic devices to the control systems (M7-M19);
  2. Development a pneumatic, hydraulic, thermal control system managed by a dedicated software (M15-M31);
  3. Integration of plasmonic nanodevices (available at the UNICZ lab) in the microfluidic platform (M25-M43);
  4. Development of coupling ports to sensor platforms (developed from the other partners in WP6 and 8) (M31-M43);

Each specific objective includes the design, characterization and validation phase.

Tasks and methodology

A proper mechanical housing will be designed and fabricated to be mounted on an automated mechanical stage which can be coupled to most commercially available optical microscopes which will interface fluidically, thermally and optically the microfluidic devices (developed form the partners of the project) to commercial available fluidic, thermal and optical control systems, available at the UNICZ lab. New technologies and methods of manufacturing, assembly and integration will be investigated in order to design an interface for the microfluidic platform which will be integrated in the mechanical housing. Particular attention will be put to the integration of plasmonic nanodevices in the microfluidic platform. The plasmonic nanostructured biosensors are constituted by regular arrays of metal elements with features at the nanometer scale. This kind of structures has been predicted to achieve high enhancement factors for Raman scattering, due to coupled plasmon resonances between the nanospheres with different dimensions. In order to avoid artifacts in the Raman spectra, Raman inactive materials such as CaF2 have to be used for the optical ports and as substrates for the integration in the microfluidic platform. Once the microfluidic platform is developed, it will be validated. Finally Raman scattering measurements will be performed in backscattering configuration through ports allowing for optical access (laser light coming in and out from the same port) to the plasmonic layers in the microfluidic platform.

These activities will include the following tasks:

  1. Device interfacing system design, fabrication and testing;
  2. Device control system design, fabrication and testing;
  3. Integration of the nanodevices in the microfluidic platform and testing;
  4. Validation of the microfluidic platform;
  5. Readout via plasmon enhanced Raman scattering measurements on biological samples.
  • Microfluidic Plug and Play interface developed

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