MSc thesis project proposal

[2018] Dual-analysis mode impedance-based microfluidic devices

Electrical impedance spectroscopy has been extensively used to monitor and analysis suspended cells in solution. Two widespread analytical methods consists of impedance flow cytometry (IFC) and active sensor microwells (ASM).
IFC consists of counting and sorting large number of cells flowing through a microfluidic channel by measuring the instantaneous impedance between two (or three) co-planar or parallel electrodes. IFC has been successfully adopted for classification of cells according to their size and dielectric properties. The limitation of IFC is the inability to perform long-term single-cell analysis as the cell constantly flowing in the solution.
Established long-term analytical methods consist of the use of microwell traps. The cells in the solution sediment in microwells equipped with a set of electrodes and impedance spectroscopy can be adopted for parallel analysis of large number of cells.
Devices that can be adopted to perform short-term counting and sorting and long-term analysis on the same platform are desirable.

This project will consist of three main activities:

  1. The design, fabrication and characterization of novel microfluidic devices using both standard photolithography and soft-lithography.
  2. The design of a readout device based on multichannel impedance analyzer developed with a microcontroller and off-the-shelf components.
  3. The integration of the microfluidic device with the readout device and fluidic testing (wet experiments).

In addition, investigation on cleanroom-free device fabrication could be pursued, in order to reduce the cost and complexity of the device.

Depending on the progress and the focus of the project, there is scope to work on the integration of parts of the electronic system in CMOS.


  • Cleanroom training in standard photolithography
  • Design of device masks for photolithography (e.g. DraftSight)
  • Fabrication and characterization of microfluidic device
  • Design and simulation (LTSpice, MultiSim or equivalent) of readout system
  • Design of readout system PCB
  • System integration
  • Wet experiments + signal (image) processing


dr. Virgilio Valente

Bioelectronics Group

Department of Microelectronics

Last modified: 2019-07-16