MSc thesis project proposal

Sensitivity optimization for Organ-on-Chip ion sensors

Organ-on-Chips (OoCs) are dynamic microfluidic platforms which can recapitulate the functions and mimic the physiological microenvironment of a (human) organ. By controlling the OoC micro-environment, cell culturing times can be extended. This possibility is significant especially for drug screening and understanding disease mechanisms. For monitoring and controlling the OoC micro-environment, sensor integration is crucial.

Ion concentration is a prominent biochemical cue to monitor the physiological state in a micro-environment. Ions which arise from various chemical reactions can be monitored and correlations with vital parameters as oxygen and pH levels can be obtained. Optical methods to monitor the changes on ion concentration are bulky and costly. At ECTM we are developing an electrochemical sensor with fully electronic real-time readout based on low-cost CMOS fabrication.

The aim of this project is to optimize the electrodes of the ion sensor for high sensitivity. High sensitivity might reveal some very crucial cues about not only the environment but the cells' well-being. For instance, rapid change in action-potential values, which is directly related to the state of the ion channels of neurons, can give information Parkinson's disease.


This experimental project will involve:
• Extensive review of the related state-of-the-art;
• Design and optimization of highly sensitive electrodes, including mechanical constraints due to stretchable substrate and aqueous medium;
• Microfabrication of the sensor;
• Characterisation of the sensor with electrolyte solutions under mechanical loading;
• Comparison with optical microscopy results;
• Reporting.

Daily advisor: Hande Aydogmus


You are an ambitious hands-on master student from microelectronic, mechanical or biomedical engineering, materials science or (applied) physics. You have good communication skills in English, you are independent and also a team player. The graduation project will have a total duration of 9 to 12 months.

If you are eager to work in a motivating atmosphere with highly skilled colleagues, then send us your CV!


dr. Massimo Mastrangeli

Electronic Components, Technology and Materials Group

Department of Microelectronics

Last modified: 2019-10-11