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Next generation test bed for upscaling of microfluidic devices based on nano-enabled surfaces and membranes

Project description

Novel nanomaterial production platform to upscale microfluidics manufacturing

Microfluidic applications encompass nanomaterials such as nano-enabled surfaces (NES) and nano-enabled membranes (NEMs). However, current production technologies do not support the mass production of complex nano-patterned surfaces, prohibiting the transfer of NES and NEMs into commercial microfluidic devices. To address this, scientists of the EU-funded NextGenMicrofluidics project are in the process of developing a platform for the large-scale production of NES and NEMs. The platform combines polymer foil technology with classic technologies such as injection moulding and high-resolution biomolecule printing. The project's unique approach is expected to reach a high-throughput production capacity of one million components per year, advancing the industrial manufacturing of microfluidic devices.


Nano enabled components are essential key parts for microfluidic applications - mostly in form of nano-enabled surfaces (NES) and nano-enabled membranes (NEMs). However, crucial challenges hinder the transfer of NES and NEMs into commercial microfluidic devices. Current production technologies (e.g. injection moulding) don’t allow large volume upscaling of complex nano-patterned surfaces and the produced microfluidic components need to be handled in single pieces in all subsequent processes. Therefore, subsequent backend processing (nano-coatings, printing of nano-based inks, lamination of NEMs) demands for complex single peace handling operations. This restricts upscaling potential and process throughput.
The proposed project NextGenMicrofluidics addresses this challenge with a platform for production of NES and NEMs based microfluidics on large area polymer foils. This approach enables upscaling to high throughput of 1 million devices per year and more. The polymer foil technology is complemented with classic technologies of injection moulding and wafer based glass and silicon processing. These core facilities are combined with essential backend processing steps like high resolution biomolecule printing with the worldwide first roll-to-roll microarray spotter, printing of nano-enabled inks, as well as coating and lamination processes. These unique facilities will be combined and upgraded to a platform for testing of upscaling of microfluidic use cases from TRL4 to TRL7. The services comprise device simulation, mastering of nanostructures, nanomaterial development, material testing, rapid prototyping, device testing, nano-safety assessment and support in regulatory and standardization issues.
The platform will be opened for additional use cases from outside of the consortium, and is therefore called Open Innovation Test Bed (OITB). The operation of such use cases will form the basis for self-sufficient operation of the platform after the project duration of 4 years

Call for proposal


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Net EU contribution
€ 4 180 588,46
Leonhardstrasse 59
8010 Graz

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Südösterreich Steiermark Graz
Activity type
Research Organisations
Other funding
€ 0,00

Participants (23)