Theme: Micro- and nanofluidics

Introduction: Nanofluidics for Lab on a Chip applications

Nanofluidics is a relatively new research field in Lab on a Chip where still is much to explore. Our research therefore has both a fundamental part where we explore new phenomena and an applied part for practical LOC systems. At the fundamental level we try to understand the flow of water, ions and biomolecules such as DNA through nanometer-size channels and structures. Especially the fact that many surfaces in contact with solution become charged thereby plays a crucial role, and we try to modify and actively control this charge chemically or electrically. Running projects on fundamental aspects concern the application of graphene for nanofluidic switching and the investigation of catalysis on metal nanoparticles in nanopores. Microfluidic energy generation is being investigated in our joint laboratory with Northwestern Polytechnic University in Xi’an (Yanbo Xie).

The knowledge we gain during our explorations is applied in a number of areas. A central area is that of molecular diagnostics. Using hierarchical combinations of microfluidics and nanofluidics we design and cleanroom-manufacture devices for separation and concentration of proteins and DNA. We also develop ultra-sensitive detection methods of biomolecules with large arrays of gold nanodots. Hierarchical micro/nanobead structures for diagnostics and micro-/nanofluidic systems for biomolecular analysis are being developed in our joint laboratory with South China Normal University in Guangzhou (Lingling Shui). Innovative fluidics for chromatography is furthermore being developed in a shared PhD project with Wim de Malsche of VUB, Brussel.
Another important application area of micro- and nanofluidics is cell biology. Here we develop fluidics to study vasculature on chip, a.o. by 3D printing. We also develop bioinspired flow systems for cell culture in cooperation with Andreas Manz in KIST, Saarbruecken.

Research projects

Au nanoparticles heated to 1050 °C on amorphous SiO2 move perpendicularly into the substrate, leaving nanopores of extreme aspect ratio (diameter ≅ 25nm, length up to 800 nm). (de Vreede et al., Nano Lett. 15(2015) 727) These structures can be highly useful for both plasmonic sensing structures and the investigation of metal catalytic efficiency.

Anisotropic nanofluidic structure for continuous flow electrokinetic DNA separation. (Gumuscu et al., Lab Chip (2015) 664)

For more information contact:

Prof. dr. Jan Eijkel

Carré 2415

+31 (0)53 489 2839