/Student project: Optical chemical sensing for biofluid monitoring

Student project: Optical chemical sensing for biofluid monitoring

Research & development - Eindhoven | More than two weeks ago

The goal of this student project is to produce and characterize novel luminescent sensing layers and demonstrate their functionality in a proof-of-concept sensing experiment.

Student project: Optical chemical sensing for biofluid monitoring

What you will do

Luminescence lifetime-based sensing is an important optical sensing technique that is used to monitor e.g. dissolved oxygen in heterogenous fluids, ranging from applications in the biopharmaceutical industry, the food and beverage industry to waste-water treatment.

Compared to luminescent intensity-based sensing, lifetime-based sensing provides more robustness because it hardly suffers from disturbances such as auto-fluorescence of the sample (often present when measuring in complex biological media). Furthermore, this technique does not suffer from inhomogeneities of the sensor layer and is less sensitive to photo-degradation of the dye (photobleaching). 

However, an important prerequisite is that the analyte-sensitive fluorophore has a decay time in the microsecond range, as compared to typical (auto)fluorescence decay times in the nanosecond range. This allows for design of compact sensors based on low-cost optoelectronic components. Up to date, analytes that can be continuously monitored in this way have been primarily limited to dissolved oxygen.

The focus of this project will be on extending this sensing methodology to allow for detection of a broader range of analytes (or biomarkers). We will start with creating an experimental two-state model system, representing the change in lifetime upon analyte binding (and unbinding) with a fluorophore. Testing will be done in buffered solutions (e.g. phosphate buffered saline). The initial focus will be on oxygen-sensitive phosphorescent probes, but the ambition is to broaden the scope to a suitable fluorophore that binds a specific ion that is relevant in biological fluids, such as Na+, K+ or Ca2+.

This project focuses on investigating advanced concepts in luminescent sensing. During this project you will:

•Perform a brief literature review on current state-of-the-art fluorophores and detection techniques.
•Prepare and characterize novel luminescent sensor layers.
•Use and optimize an existing experimental setup to evaluate the sensing layers.   
•Report the results in a clear way to a multidisciplinary team.

What we do for you

You will be working at Imec in an ambitious team of researchers, engineers, and innovators active in a broad range of activities centred around (bio)chemical sensing. Target applications include continuous and long-term monitoring of cell culture fluids within lab-on-chip or organ-on-chip systems. You will work in a lab located on the High Tech Campus Eindhoven, the Netherlands but will combine this with measurements at the Molecular Biophysics group at Utrecht University.

Imec the Netherlands is part of the larger Imec organization which is a world-leading R&D organization in the field of nanotechnology and electronics. We invite you to be part of our ambitious team where your ideas will have an impact on our society and our future lives.

Who you are

  • MSc student in Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, Materials Science, Physics, Applied Physics or equivalent.
  • You are entitled to do an internship in the Netherlands (have EU nationality and/or currently study at a Dutch university).
  • Hands-on approach in setting up and performing experiments.
  • Affinity with data processing in e.g. Matlab or Python.
  • Experience with materials characterization and/or optical setups is an advantage.
  • Strong analytical skills.
  • Good written and verbal English skills.
  • Available for 6 months or longer.

Interested

Does this project sound like an interesting next step in your career at imec? Don’t hesitate to submit your application by clicking on ‘APPLY NOW’.
Got some questions about the recruitment process? Martijn Kohl of the Talent Acquisition Team will be happy to assist you.

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