Accurate Alignment of Chips for Lab-on-a-Chip applications 2
Bison code: L.28276
Detection of diseases in body fluids, such as blood, saliva, or urine, can be done much faster with so-called lab-on-a-chip solutions. Such chips are coated with a bio-active layer, which binds to the biomarker to be detected. Next, a sensor on the chip can measure the changes from this binding and give a result, typically within a few minutes.
In the NanoBio and NanoPhysics research groups, research is conducted with a large number of industrial partners to develop such solutions using photonic chips. In these kind of chips, light is used to detect the changes. The advantage is that these devices are very sensitive and thus can detect very low concentrations. At the same time, the light source (a diode laser, which is outside the chip) and structures on the chip need to be very accurately aligned for the chip to work properly. The NanoPhysics Group is working together with the Mechatronics Group to develop a method for this alignment.
The accurate alignment will be achieved via a combination of passive and active alignment. In the passive alignment, the chip located inside a cartridge will be placed into an acceptor mechanically, such that the location of the entry point for the light source is within known limits. Next, an active alignment procedure takes over and moves the light source with respect to the chip until good coupling is achieved.
In this project combinations of the solutions for the two separate steps (passive and active) need to be combined to find an overall solution for automated alignment problem. This study will involve both the technical as well as the economic aspects of the problem. We need a solution that is technically feasible, but also economically viable.
The goal is to build a demonstrator based on implementation of the proposed solutions, such that it can be tested. In addition, a study into the economic viability is needed.