Deep proton writing applied on organic materials for the development of a new generation of biophotonic components

Over the last few decades, various micro total analysis systems (microTAS) also called lab-on-a-chip, miniaturized, or microfluidic analysis systems have been developed, which integrate different chemical processes (sample pretreatment, mixing, chromatographic, or electrophoresis separation) on a single chip. Miniaturization of these analytical process steps improves the system s performance and speed drastically. Additionally, miniaturization enables a size reduction of the chemical system and a significant decrease of reagent and sample consumption, which makes them suitable for use in the field. Finally, several systems can be combined on one substrate to enable parallel investigation. However, up to now, conventional, bulky, and expensive detection systems have to be employed to detect the minute amounts of molecules in the microchannels on these chips. There exists a strong need for miniaturized and integrated on-chip detection units, which are lightweight, low cost, reliable, robust, and simple to operate, and which have a high processing speed. These systems will enable the development of portable, robust, and, ultimately, disposable microTAS systems that can be used in the field and for point-of-care applications. The growing demand for efficient and low-cost micro-optical components and microphotonic systems, not only in microTAS applications but also in e.g. the data and telecom market, has led to the development of several flexible technologies for the fabrication of microlens arrays and micro-optical systems. At the department of Applied Physics and Photonics (TONA) at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel continuous effort is put into the development and optimization of a rapid prototyping technology for the fabrication of micro-optical modules. In this technology, which we call Deep Proton Writing, we bombard polymer samples with swift protons, which will result after chemical processing steps into high quality micro-optical components. The strength of the DPW micromachining technology is the ability to fabricate monolithic building blocks that include micro-optical and mechanical functionalities which can be precisely integrated into more complex photonic systems. Thus this technology is an ideal candidate for the fabrication of miniaturized detection modules that can be integrated with microfluidic channels and microTAS systems. The main goal of this project is the use and optimization of DPW for the fabrication of a new generation of microlenses and micro-optical components for biophotonic applications, and more in particular for the development of micro-optical modules for the detection of fluorescence and absorbance of biomolecules in microTAS systems.

Project duration

10/2005 - 09/2009

Key Researchers

Heidi Ottevaere Heidi Ottevaere
+32 2 629 34 51

Sara Van Overmeire Sara Van Overmeire
+32 2 629 36 58

Related Research areas

Biophotonics , Micro-optics
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