Nanofluidics is a relatively new field with still much to discover. Our research therefore has a strong explorative dimension where we are actively searching for new phenomena. In our explorative research we try to understand on a fundamental level the flow of water, ions and biomolecules such as DNA through various nanometer-scale structures. Especially the fact that 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. Present explorative projects are for example the application of graphene in nanofluidic devices and the investigation of catalysis on metal nanoparticles in nanopores.
The knowledge that we gain in the explorative research is applied in a number of different areas. One important area is that of clinical diagnostics. In the MESA+ cleanroom we can make smart nanostructured designs that open up new ways to separate molecules such as DNA in continuous flow or simultaneously concentrate and separate small proteins in blood for diagnostics of cardiac diseases or refine existing chips for ion separation by electrophoresis. We develop large arrays of gold nanodots for plasmonic detection of tuberculosis. Finally, we are developing 3D printing methods to construct fluidic networks that mimic our blood vessel system, and seed them with human stem cells to create organs on a chip.
- Catalysis on metal nanoparticles in nanopores
- Graphene-based nanofluidic devices
- Continuous flow separation of DNA
- Sensing with colors: development of a gold nanodot array device for tuberculosis diagnostics
- Development of a point of care sensor for cardiac biomarkers using nanofluidics separation and preconcdntration
- Construction of vascular networks using 3D printing and stem cells
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)
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