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Insights from the MEMS2018 conference

The 31st IEEE International conference in Micro Electro Mechanical systems held in Belfast

Publicerad 2018-02-15

As of tradition, the research community of MEMS meet in the end of January to report the latest results within microsystem technology. This year five innovations were peer selected and presented from the Department of Micro and Nanosystems at KTH, focusing on micro structuring polymers for tissue engineering, paper and droplet microfluidics, minimal invasive sensing, point of care diagnostics and manipulation of micro-droplets.

Emres dipstick showing detection of orders of magnitude better than the limit of detection required clinically

Today’s point-of-care diagnostic tests for urinary tract infections cannot provide information about the antibiotic susceptibility, and they often fail to detect the infection. Emre Iseri  presented his work on a novel “digital dipstick” developed by him a nd his colleagues using microfluidics. The dipstick test provides a quantitative analysis of the bacterial load in urine and is designed to be readily adapted for testing the antibiotic susceptibility as well. Another approach of similar technologies for improvement of new biomedical applications was presented by Hiroki Yasuga who has developed a novel approach to merge two microfluidic platforms, paper microfluidics and droplet microfluidics.

Linnea Gustafsson  and Weijin Guo  presented a novel way to build an in vitro blood vessel scaffold with great potential in the application of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. The scaffold is modeled by combining microstructure polymer and spider silk protein, seen in the image to the right.

Linnea and Weijins microstructure polymer coated with spider silk film

Another disease that is currently affecting many people worldwide is diabetes. Since the disease is not curable at the moment, it is important to find ways of continuous monitoring to prevent complications. Federico Ribet  has been developing a miniaturized glucose sensor with the thickness of a hair, that can be painlessly inserted into the skin. The device monitors glucose concentration over time, providing a complete temporal overview and reducing the patient discomfort related to finger pricks required by conventional technologies.

Federico Ribet has also been working on a second project handling manipulation of ionic liquids through application of an electrical potential. The technique enables several micro-fluidic operations, such as controlled motion of single micro-droplets on surfaces. In particular, in Federico has explored applications for this technology in the field of gas diffusion control and sensing.

Federicos miniaturized glucose sensor to the left and a sketch on his project on ionic liquid micro droplet manipulation by electrowetting-on-dielectric for on/off diffusion control to the right