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.