Diane De Coster obtained her degree of Doctor in Engineering after an inspiring presentation of her PhD work on “Microfluidic devices for Raman spectroscopy and optical trapping”

March 10, 2016 at 11:58

For her research, she first investigated the miniaturization of Raman spectroscopy of sample solutions in microchannels on a chip and completed the ‘food chain’ from concept to proof-of-concept demonstration via modeling, design, fabrication and characterization. The chip contains a free-form reflector that enables confocal Raman measurements on-chip, based on the principle of parabolic reflectors and confocal microscopes. In a proof-of-concept experimental setup, she demonstrated the confocal functionality of the chip and she calibrated the Raman system.

Second, she developed a mass-manufacturable polymer microfluidic device for dual fiber optical trapping in order to trap particles or cells in a predefined area. In cancer research for example, there is a need for identifying tumor cells and for discriminating these from healthy cells. This can be done by measuring the Raman spectrum (i.e. ‘molecular fingerprint’) of a cell, while it is trapped. By trapping the cell under test during the acquisition of the Raman scattering signal, a Raman spectrum with an enhanced signal-to-noise ratio, representing the individual characteristics of the trapped cell, can be collected. Also in this part, she completed the ‘food chain’ and demonstrated the trapping capabilities in the mass-manufacturable polymer microfluidic device, which was fabricated and replicated by using ultraprecision diamond tooling and double-sided hot embossing.

Third and finally, she demonstrated the combination of optical trapping of particles with the Raman measurement of this trapped particle on a single reflector-embedded optofluidic chip.

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