Mesoscale Chemical Systems

Research on electricity-driven activation mechanisms, using electricity from renewable energy sources, is a core activity of the Mesocale Chemical Systems group (MCS) headed by Han Gardeniers. Combined with downscaling and integration of unit chemical operations, enhanced yield and selectivity of chemical reactions and product purification, and improved analysis of mass-limited chemical and biological samples is achieved.

Introduction to group activities

The research focuses on the themes Alternative activation mechanisms for chemical process control and process intensification and Miniaturization of chemical analysis systems. A special interest is in periodic mesoscale structures, where the periodicity leads to improvements in chemical process throughput and selectivity, because such structures align the size scale of elemental reaction and mass/heat/electron transport processes with their respective time scales, and reduces the residence time distribution in a chemical processing unit. Effort is planned in the development of advanced additive manufacturing methods for functional mesoscale metamaterials for chemical process engeneering and sustainable energy (with a focus on solar energy). 3D nanostructuring using more conventional nanotechnology are developed further for biochemical and sustainable energy research. Because of the small distances over which chemical processes occur in mesoscale structures, it becomes possible to apply new concepts for activation of chemical reactions, for example, using ultrasound or electrical fields. In this way, processes can be intensified and more sustainable routes for chemical processing can be achieved. An example is solar-to-fuel conversion, in which solar light, via electrons and surface electrochemistry, is used to generate hydrogen gas, or in future, convert carbon dioxide to alcohols or other liquid fuels. Activities in this area are growing, e.g. via the introduction of novel light-harvesting nanostructures. In physics and chemistry the mesoscopic scale is the length scale at which one can reasonably discuss material properties or phenomena without having to discuss individual atom behaviour. Applied research at this scale is covered by the fields of nanotechnology and microtechnology (including microsystem technology, MST, micro electromechanical systems, MEMS, and microreaction technology).

The group is a very active user of the NanoLab clean room facilities and collaborates with many of the groups participating in the nanotechnology research institute MESA+, in particular with microfluidics colleagues in the group Soft Matter, Fluidics and Interfaces (SFI) lead by Rob Lammertink, photocatalysis colleagues in the group Photo-catalytic Fuel Synthesis (PCS) headed by GuidoMul, and nanofabrication colleagues in the group Molecular Nanofabrication headed by Jurriaan Huskens.

Main research themes

Latest news

InkBeams winnaar eerste StartupLaunch

De eerste editie van The StartupLaunch is gewonnen door team InkBeams. De groep sleepte onder leiding van David Fernandez Rivas de eerste prijs in de wacht voor hun project, dat moet uitmonden in een methode die naaldloos injecteren mogelijk maakt. ... read more

BIOS and MCS develop a cheaper method to make sub 30 nm periodic structures

People from the BIOS and MCS groups have published a conference paper (MicroTAS 2016) on a technique we have developed to make extremely small (less than 30 nm) periodic structures without the use of a deep-UV light source for lithography. This can make batch production of such structures relatively cheap. ... read more

MCS publishes in Energy & Environmental Science

MCS group contributes to a Perspective article in the highly popular journal Energy and Environmental Science.
Its title is The potential for microfluidics in electrochemical energy systems, and is the result of a collaboration with colleagues from EPFL, Laussane, Switzerland. ... read more

MCS papers published in Biosensors and Analytical Biochemistry

Two papers related to DNA analysis have recently been published by our group. ... read more