Stratophase Ltd Release: P3SENS Consortium Makes Headway in the Development of Microfluidic Sample Delivery Technology

Published: Apr 18, 2011

Mons, Belgium – 18th Apr 2011 – The P3SENS consortium has been formed to develop an immunoassay detection device suitable for use in emergency-medicine, whether diagnosis is required in an ambulance, emergency room or as part of a rapid near-patient laboratory test in a hospital environment. The requirement for such a technology to be standalone, without the infrastructure associated with a laboratory, dictates that a number of key processes are completed automatically within the system. The ability of a biosensor platform to manipulate liquid samples and deliver any biomarkers which may be present to the surface of the sensor in a manner which ensures accurate and reliable detection is critical.

In the P3SENS project the aim is to design, develop and realize robust microfluidic systems which are applicable for fast and cost-effective sample transport and still containing some simple sample preparation functions, such as mixing or dilution. Preliminary microfluidic structures have been designed taking in to consideration the proposed layout of the sensor chip and the material requirements. The microfluidics are to contain six parallel individually addressable channels with the integrated functions of washing and mixing by applying different mixer components.

The key issue of the integrability and final applicability of the developed structure is an appropriate polymer material selection, which will have a critical impact on the requirement for leakage-free bonding. The polymer materials which are most suitable for realizing simple microfluidic systems have been identified as Polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) and the epoxy-based negative photoresist SU-8. These materials are relatively low-cost and can be easily structured by the combination of microlithography and polymer technology. The fabrication process has been established for both PDMS and SU-8 polymer materials, and test structures are currently being validated.

The completion of these significant milestones, showing the development of new microfluidic structures, is rapidly progressing the P3SENS consortium towards its goal to produce a biosensor platform and demonstrate applicability to the Point of Care diagnosis of Stroke. The consortium continues its multidisciplinary approach with parallel activities driving forward development in polymer materials, photonic crystal fabrication, optical and fluidic systems, and biomedical proteomics.

For further information about P3SENS, please visit

About Multitel asbl:

Multitel is a Belgian private, non-profit research centre, leading applied research and development activities for industry leaders, SMEs and spin-off companies. Multitel is the P3SENS project coordinator. As a distinguished multidisciplinary Centre of Excellence with a fully independent legal status, the centre is a strategic partner to the industry in what concerns the development of know-how and innovation for a variety of technical domains including Photonics, Networking, Speech, Signal and Image Processing. Moreover Multitel is a technology transfer medium and founded six spin-off companies.

The Applied Photonics Department of Multitel is participating in a number of FP7 EU research projects. In the past years (FP6) the department was the coordinator of the project OFSETH (STREP FP6-IST-2005-027869) on medical application of optical sensors and participates in SABIO (STREP FP6-IST-2005-026554), a multidisciplinary project on development of optical biosensors for medical application, and PHODYE (STREP FP6-IST-2005-033793), which deals with the design and development of optical sensors for chemical detection. Another activity of the department concerns the prototyping of sub-nanosecond fibre lasers and supercontinuum sources. In this field the department participated in the EU project NEXTGENPCF (IP FP6-IST-2005-034918) and is currently involved in ALPINE (IP FP7-NMP-2008-229231) and IMPROV (STREP FP7-ICT-2010-257894).

About MFA:

The Research Institute for Technical Physics and Materials Science (MFA, is an academic institute devoted to interdisciplinary research on complex functional materials and nanometer-scale structures, exploration of physical, chemical and biological principles, their exploitation in integrated micro- and nanosystems, and in the development of characterization techniques. With a total staff of 150 including 100 researchers the institute works on 80-100 projects in various fields of nano- and microtechnology. MFA has Clean Rooms with state of the art nano- and microfabrication equipments and hosts the Nanosensorics Laboratory with dedicated facilities for biosensorics, including receptor immobilization and its characterization with commercial optical biosensors.

In P3SENS MFA is mainly responsible for the immobilization and optical characterization of receptor protein layers using label-free optical waveguide based sensors and for the fabrication of the microfluidic polymer structure Moreover, MFA performs structural and optical characterization of the newly developed nanocomposite materials by using its range of equipments such as electron microscopy and spectroscopic ellipsometry.

About VTT:

VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland (VTT) is a multi-disciplinary research organization with 2900 employees. It is government-owned but gains a significant fraction of its income from the private sector via contract research. P3SENS will mainly involve personnel and equipment located in Micronova, a Centre for Micro and Nanotechnology. Micronova is run jointly by VTT and Aalto University and it also houses several companies. The core of Micronova is a 2600 m2 cleanroom which enables state-of-the-art wafer processing for microelectronic, MEMS and photonics applications. Micronova can cover the entire micro-nano innovation chain from basic research to small/medium scale manufacturing. VTT leads two work packages in P3SENS. VTT's main responsibilities in the project are the development of Nanoimprint lithography (NIL) for patterning waveguides and photonic crystals into polymer, the design and fabrication of NIL-based photonic chips and the integration of photonic and fluidic functions in a single chip.

About University of Geneva:

The Biomedical Proteomics Research Group (BPRG) at Geneva University headed by Jean-Charles Sanchez, has a world-leading role in proteomics since 1984. BPRG researchers work in the two complementary areas of protein separation, detection and identification methods and their related computer sciences field. As a coinventor of the proteome concept, BPRG has soon evaluated the great impact proteomics could have in biomarker discovery. Since then, its efforts have been concentrated to this goal and important results have been obtained in various types of diseases such as stroke and neurodegenerative diseases. All these results permit to develop new diagnostic, therapeutic and predictive tools.

The Biomedical Proteomics Research Group provides the P3SENS problem definition, data and expertise concerning cerebrovascular diseases. It will also produce the final validation and clinical test results for brain infarct diagnosis and prognosis.

About University of Glasgow:

The University is one the world's top 100 universities and the fourth oldest in the United Kingdom, being founded in 1451. The annual research income places Glasgow in the UK's top ten earners for research. In the latest independent research survey, almost 70% of the University's research was rated as world-leading or internationally excellent. The James Watt Nanofabrication Centre (JWNC) is a facility within Glasgow University centred on the Department of Electronics and Electrical Engineering. The focus is on interdisciplinary research at the nanometre scale and the JWNC brings together many different research groups working in engineering and the physical and life sciences. The Centre has comprehensive micro- and nano-fabrication facilities housed within 750 square metres of clean-room space, including one of the most advanced large-area high-resolution electro-beam lithography tools in the world.

The University of Glasgow leads the WP3 work package in P3SENS, which deals with the design and fabrication of the photonic crystal sensor component that is at the core of the devices to be developed and tested in the project. About Bayer Technology Services GmbH:

Bayer Technology Services GmbH, a Bayer AG company, is a capable supplier of technology solutions for the chemical and pharmaceutical industries with close ties to operators. Our first-class network of experts draws on the decades-long experience of a global corporation and holistic expertise along the entire life cycle to develop, implement and optimize plants and processes. Our pilot plant areas include several units for the production, treatment and formulation of your products, ranging from just a few kilograms for smaller and sample quantities up to several tons for job order production. We develop individual solutions for your product regardless whether a single process step or a combination of unit operations is needed.

About Stratophase:

Stratophase is a VC-funded spin-out from the University of Southampton in the UK. Its unique SpectroSens technology is an optical microchip sensor which measures chemical processes and detects biological targets. This core optical measurement technology can be realised in a vast array of sensing heads, offering a wide variety of system configurations applicable to a broad spectrum of industries including chemical and biochemical production as well as biological detection.

The Stratophase team, guided by CEO Dr Richard Williams, includes the original inventors of the SpectroSens technology as well as senior managers with a many years of industry experience.

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