Lecture by Prof. Andrew deMello - ETH Zürich, Switzerland
Microfluidics for blood diagnostics
Flow cytometry is a ubiquitous analytical technique for enumerating and sorting heterogeneous cellular populations and has proved to be highly useful in a range of clinical applications. Although modern flow cytometers are adept at processing thousands of cells per second, almost all require unacceptably large sample/reagent volumes and do not provide spatially resolved information from within each cell. To address these issues, imaging flow cytometry (IFC) allows for high-throughput imaging of cells within flowing environments. In principle, such an approach engenders enormous enhancements in information content but is attended by a number of technological challenges. To address these limitations, we have been interested in leveraging the capabilities of microfluidic systems to manipulate, process and order micron-sized objects in a controlled and high-throughput manner, and novel optical detection methods to capture blur-free images of rapidly moving objects. I will describe how both inertial and elasto-inertial microfluidics can be used to image cells at throughputs approaching half a million cells/s and how viscoelastic deformability cytometry can mechanically phenotype cells at rates up to 100,000 cells per second. Finally, I will show how these core technologies can be used as clinical tools to isolate circulating tumor cells (CTCs) and extracellular vesicles in a rapid and efficient manner.
Andrew is currently Professor of Biochemical Engineering in the Department of Chemistry and Applied Biosciences at ETH Zurich. Prior to his arrival in Zurich, he was Professor of Chemical Nanosciences and Head of the Nanostructured Materials and Devices Section in the Chemistry Department at Imperial College London. He obtained a 1st Class Degree in Chemistry and PhD in Molecular Photophysics from Imperial College London in 1995 and subsequently held a Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Department of Chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley working with Richard Mathies. His research interests cover a broad range of activities in the general area of microfluidics and nanoscale science. Andrew has given over 400 invited lectures at conferences and universities in North America, Europe, Africa and Asia (including over 100 plenary or keynote lectures), has published 400 papers in refereed journals, and co-authored two books. He is currently an Associate editor for ACS Sensors and sits on the Editorial Boards of Advanced Materials Technologies, Chem and the Journal of Flow Chemistry. He is also co-founder of two spin out companies that commercialize microfluidic technologies. Science originating from the deMello group has been recognized through multiple awards, including the 2002 SAC Silver Medal (Royal Society of Chemistry), the 2009 Clifford Paterson Medal (Royal Society), the 2009 Corday Morgan Medal (Royal Society of Chemistry), the 2012 Pioneers of Miniaturization Lectureship (Royal Society of Chemistry), 34th Qinghe Lectureship (Chinese Academy of Sciences), the 2019 Gopal Singhal Memorial Lecturship, the 2020 Advances in Measurement Science Lectureship Award (American Chemical Society), the 2021 Simon-Widmer Award (Swiss Chemical Society) and a 2021 Mendel Lectureship (Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic).
Lecture by Prof. Dr. Ir. Hans Hilgenkamp - MESA+ Institute UT
One of the most profound transitions in the history of mankind has been the advent of information and communication technologies (ICT), as it took place in the last decades. This has brought about enormous opportunities, but also many societal challenges.
Emblematic for the development of ICT has been Moore's law, describing how the density of transistors has increased exponentially over time. For the next decade, there are still further routes foreseen to extend Moore's law, for example by a further downscaling of the transistors, the implementation of new transistor geometries, optimizing circuitry lay-outs, and stacking in the third dimension.
Extending Moore's law is however not the only goal anymore, and arguably not even the prime goal. The energy dissipation in transistor-based digital circuitry forms more and more the key limitation for applications. Already for many years, the clock-frequency in processor chips has been capped to a few GHz for this reason. With the increasing use of information technologies, for example driven by developments in Internet of Things, artificial intelligence and autonomous transportation, the energy consumption of information- and communication technologies also becomes more and more an environmental problem. This is already very noticeable in relation to datacenters, consuming a lot of electricity and cooling water.
It is therefore of interest to explore alternative concepts for information technologies, besides the ongoing developments according to Moore's law. Ideally, these new concepts will be blended with future transistor-based circuitry, to create the most (energy)-efficient devices. In the presentation, I will reflect on these developments, introducing concepts such as neuromorphic circuitry and in-memory computing. Ongoing work at MESA+ in this area will be described and opportunities for the future will be discussed.
Hans Hilgenkamp is a professor at the MESA+ Institute for Nanotechnology and the Faculty of Science and Technology of the University of Twente. His research involves nano- materials with special electronic and/or magnetic properties, such as superconductors or resistive-switching materials, with applications in sensors or novel ICT devices. After his PhD in Twente (1995) he held positions at the IBM Zurich and the University of Augsburg, before returing in 2000 to Twente. He was visiting/parttime professor at CSIRO-Sydney, the National University of Singapore and the University of Leiden. From 2014-208 he was dean of the Faculty of Science and Technology and after that became co-director of the MESA+ BRAINS Center for Brain-Inspired Nanosystems. He obtained a KNAW Research Fellowship, the NWO VIDI and VICI grants, was a co-founder of the Global Young Academy, and is a Fellow of the American Physical Society. He is coordinating the large-scale National Science Agenda (NWA) program 'NL-ECO: Netherlands Initiative for Energy-Efficient Computing', that was recently awarded.
Lecture by Prof. Natalie Stingelin – Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, USA
Phase Diagrams of Complex Materials: From the Katana, Swiss Chocolates to Organic Semiconductors
In the past decade, significant progress has been made in the fabrication of polymer-based devices, such as organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs), organic field-effect transistors (OFETs) and organic photovoltaics (OPVs), predominantly due to important improvements of existing materials and the creation of a wealth of novel compounds. Many challenges, however, still exist: from achieving reliable device fabrication, increasing the device stability and, more fundamentally, gaining a complete understanding how structural features over all length scales affect important optoelectronic and photophysical processes in such polymers, including charge transport, charge generation, and general photovoltaic processes. Here we demonstrate how classical polymer science tools can be used to elucidate the structure development of semiconducting polymers from the liquid phase, how such knowledge can be exploited to manipulate their phase transformations and solid-state order and, in turn, their electronic features and device performances. More specifically, we will illustrate how rules that explain the mechanical properties of the Katana and distinguishes good from lesser tasty chocolates, can be applied to organic semiconductors to manipulate their properties and, hence, and their consequent performance when used as active layers in organic optoelectronic devices, with focus on organic organic photovoltaic cells. Moreover, we discuss how the relatively new fast-calorimetry technique, that can measure with rates of up to 5,000 °C/s can be utilized for the identification of thermodynamic transitions of donor polymers and acceptor molecules commonly used in the organic solar cell area. Examples are provided how the change in glass transition temperature of a common polymer semiconductor that can be used to track polymer degradation upon light exposure. In short, we will demonstrate how thermal analysis can be exploited to obtain important structural information of organic energy harvesting materials, and how processing guidelines can, in turn, be established towards materials of specific optical or electrical characteristics, and improved materials design for organic photovoltaic blends.
Natalie Stingelin is a Full Professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology and the Chair of the School of Materials Science & Engineering. She hold prior positions at Imperial College London, UK, at Queen Mary University of London, UK; the Philips Research Laboratories in Eindhoven, The Netherlands; the Cavendish Laboratories, University of Cambridge, UK; and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) Zürich, Switzerland. She is the Director of Georgia Tech’s Center of Organic Electronics and Photonics, and was elected a 2023 Member of the European Academy of Sciences (EurASc); a 2021 Fellow of the U.S. National Academy of Inventors (NAI); a 2019 Fellow of the Materials Research Society (MRS); and a 2012 Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC). Her research interests encompass the broad area of functional polymer materials, polymer physics, organic electronics & photonics, and bioelectronics.