Students applying for internships must either be awarded credits for their work (e.g. master thesis) or provide their own funding (e.g. non-credited summer internship).
Registered EPFL bachelor and master students
You should organise your agenda to be on site, in Geneva, for at least a full day per week. The travel costs between EPFL Lausanne and EPFL Geneva will be covered.
External students from a partner University
External students from a non-partner University
You are welcome to apply to join the LSBI, but you will need to find your own funding source e.g. a scholarship, a grant, etc.
Foreign students are welcome to apply to one of the following schemes to join the LSBI for a summer, a semester or a year-long internship.
INTERNSHIP, SEMESTER AND MASTER PROJECTS
Programming a stimulation protocol for an olfactory implant
Semester project / Master thesis
We are seeking a highly motivated and skilled research student to assist in the design and validation of electrical stimulation protocols, later being used for a thin and flexible microelectrode array (MEA). The intended use of the MEA is the stimulation of the olfactive cleft for the development of an olfactory implant. The ideal candidate will have a strong background in electrical engineering and experience with programming and graphical user interfaces (GUIs).
- Design a multiplexing protocol that can switch sequentially or simultaneously to create 2D patterns of stimulation within the electrode array.
- Design the corresponding GUI for controlling the stimulation parameters.
- Validate the effectiveness of the stimulation protocols.
- Strong programming skills, with experience in MATLAB or Python.
- Experience with graphical user interfaces (GUIs).
- Basic knowledge of electrical stimulation principles.
- Excellent communication and interpersonal skills.
Optimization of kirigami patterns for stretchable interconnects
Semester project / Master thesis
Long-term implantation of neural interfaces in dynamic environments, such as the cervical spinal cord is challenging. Indeed, the implant must be able to accommodate for a wide range of motion to avoid displacement of the device or breakage. To address this issue, a technology was developed within the LSBI to fabricate soft neural interfaces based on the engineering of stretchable interconnects, encapsulated in between two layers of silicone. The stretchability of the interconnects is achieved by micro-patterning periodic cuts (also referred to as kirigami) into thin sheets of Polyimide/Platinum/Polyimide . The main challenge of this technique is to achieve both high conductivity and high stretchability. The high conductivity is necessary to deliver currents at the electrode site in a range that is sufficient to recruit the targeted neurons. Reversible stretchability of the device is key in ensuring that the components can deform following the movement of the surrounding tissue, thereby reducing the mechanical mismatch that can lead to fibrotic encapsulation of the implant, typically seen with rigid implants.
The aim of this project is to optimize the patterning of the interconnects to satisfy application-specific conductivity and stretchability requirements. In particular, the student will conduct a study on networks of serpentines. Due to their sinuous geometry, serpentines unfold under tensile strain, resulting in spring-like mechanical behavior. Varying the shape of each serpentine unit and their connection pattern gives rise to a vast collection of electro-mechanical properties. The deformation and electrical resistance of the patterned networks will be computed through custom code. The student will participate in the development of a robust optimization scheme that will allow for a network geometry that minimizes both local strain and resistance depending on a given set of conditions. These conditions include material properties, interconnect dimensions, type of deformation, …
Once the optimization scheme is set in place, experimental validation will be conducted. Ultimately, we aim to obtain a user-friendly interface to accelerate and help guide the next design iterations of neural implants, such as cervical spinal cord implants.
- Implement a script to that identifies the optimal serpentine network.
- Provide an analysis of performance of the optimization scheme.
- Define the design specifications for a set of conditions.
- Conduct experimental validation.
- Python coding experience
- Knowledge of optimization principles and algorithms
- Good understanding of mechanics and material properties
Nice to have:
- Experience with simulation software (COMSOL, ABAQUS)
- Nicolas Vachicouras. Soft microfabricated neural implants: a path towards translational implementation. 2019.