Available Projects 2020

Master project: Development of a biosensor for troponin detection

Biosensors have shown huge growth in the last years. Current trends are focused on the miniaturization of devices leading to a growing demand for robust, affordable point of care-based technologies that are able to compete with bulkier instruments. The sensitivity and specificity of a biosensor are directly related to the activity of the immobilized molecules and the accessibility of the specific targets. Therefore, surface functionalization chemistry is a key step in the development of the biosensors which should ensure a good surface coverage, proper accessibility of the target to the immobilized biolayer, low non-specific binding, and good reproducibility and robustness. Troponins are protein complexes that modulate the contraction and relaxation of striated muscle and it is considered to be an important marker in the diagnosis of acute coronary syndrome.  In this project a wearable FET biosensor used to detect cardiac troponin for early cardiac disease diagnostic and monitoring will be developed by exploring different surface functionalization chemistries in order to graft molecular probes while preserving their electronic properties.

Thesis abstract

The main objective of the proposed master project is the development of a biosensor for on-site and real-time quantitative analysis of troponin. Surface functionalization chemistries to proper access this protein of interest will be explored over the time course of this master project.

Keywords: troponin, FET, biosensing, surface functionalization

Candidate

We seek a motivated and ambitious master student to work both independently and as part of a team in an interdisciplinary environment, that is, the Nanoelectronic Devices Laboratory (NANOLAB) group. The NANOLAB, led by Prof. Mihai Adrian Ionescu, has an outstanding reputation of research excellence, state of the art research facility in nanotechnology for health and well-being biosensors. NANOLAB is working on various subjects in the field of silicon micro/nano-electronics with special emphasis on the technology, design and characterization of nanoscale solid-state devices, FET-based biosensors, negative capacitance FET, RF devices, 2D-2D Tunnel FET. The group is very multidisciplinary, and comprises researchers from different scientific backgrounds such as chemists, engineers, and biologists. The focus of the group’s research is exploring new materials, novel fabrication techniques, and novel device concepts for future nanoelectronic systems. Interested applicants should contact [email protected] or [email protected].

Starting date: as soon as possible

Past projects

IoT platform for personalized healthcare devices

The goal of this project is to develop an IoT platform that works as a sensor node that continuously collects physiological information. Established biochemical sensors are implemented as the sensing element, outputting electrical signals that are proportional to biomarkers’ concentrations. The IoT platform incorporates:

1. The sensors with readout circuit that provides an output signal;

2. Microcontroller (STM32L4 series)

3a. Compact narrowband IoT module (BC66 and antenna). In this case the MCU processes and sends the data to the IoT module, a reader modem connected to the computer, python code for retrieving the data is available.

3b. NFC sensor interface tag (AS3955 and antenna). In this case the MCU sends data through NFC tag to an Android APP. Java code of the first version of the APP is available; the corresponding code for MCU is also available, but needs upgrade.

Project requirements: Broad interest in biochemical sensing applications, mastering microcontroller programming, mastering Android APP development, knowledge of Python. There is the possibility to break down the project into two parts.

Main tasks: Optimize MCU power consumption, implement data processing algorithm on MCU, upgrade Android app for NFC tag reading.

Starting date:  April 2019

Recommended type of project:  Internship.

Work breakdown:  40% microcontroller programming, 40% android APP development, 20% algorithm implementation.

Contact person:  [email protected]

Next generation energy storage for mobile devices

The goal of this project is to develop a technology that enables high energy and ultra fast charging supercapacitors that combine the high energy storage capability of batteries with the high power delivery capability of capacitors to enable the next generation of energy storage devices.

Today, energy storage is one of the major bottlenecks of technological development. While the demand in electronic devices has increased a thousand fold in the last 20 years, the batteries energy density has only tripled, creating a huge market opportunity for improved solutions.

In this project the student will combine microfabrication, electrochemistry, material science and electronics to contribute to the development of a high performance supercapacitor that has the potential to revolutionize the way we charge our electronic devices in the future. The aim is to achieve a proof of concept and contribute to the development of the core technology of a potential start-up company.

Project requirements: Broad interest in nanotechnology and electronic devices, microelectronics/microfabrication knowledge.

Main tasks: Optimize supercapacitor design beyond the state-of-art, microfabrication of the devices and electrical characterization.

Starting date:  March 2019

Recommended type of project:  Master project, internship.

Work breakdown:  10% theory, 70% fabrication, 20% characterization.

Contact person:  [email protected]