Project area 4
In project area 4 already existing pore systems and new systems, that are developed in the other project areas, are coupled to microelectronic systems to register electrical signals on a miniature scale.
Integration of nanopores in lab-on-chip systems
Principal Investigator: Helmut F. Schlaak
Helmut F. Schlaak’s group (Electrical Engineering) has several years of experience in the field of micro-nano-integration. In particular, the on-site production of metallic wires with a diameter of less than 1 micron represents a priority. As an intermediate step a chemically etched ion-track polymer foil has to be integrated into a micro-system already. Therefore, the necessary process steps and handling procedures are known and can be used in the iNAPO project.
The sensory use of nanopores is currently only available in complex laboratory setups. The polymer foils with chemically modified nanopores are examined in lavishly produced relatively large electrochemical cells. For this the foils must be clamped manually and the electrolyt-cells have to be filled before each experiment. After filling, the wire-shaped electrodes are inserted into the system. Another drawback, in addition to the complex handling and complex measuring electronics, is the size of the cell with its large volume of solution. This requires a large wetting area of the membrane, so that membranes with single pores must be used. These are very complex to produce and currently only available from the GSI. Therefore, here is a new approach to be followed in which a microfluidic system (lab-on-chip) is prepared, in which the film is integrated directly. The concept of such a system is outlined in the figure. With the smaller wetting area of the membrane it can be guaranteed, even in commercial membranes with many pores, that only a one-digit number of pores is used for the measurement. Within the project, a microfluidic system can be realized, in which the ion-track etched membrane is integrated. In addition, electrolyte volumes, flow channels and the necessary electrodes are integrated in the microsystem. The proposed concept combines classical micro technology manufacturing methods that are commonly used for the production of lab-on-chip systems, with the integration technologies for ion track etched foils developed in the group of Helmut F. Schlaak.