Micro-Electrode Array Experiments
At the nanoelectronics group we have recently produced an integrated CMOS chip with a micro-electrode array (MEA) on it's surface for the purpose of measuring bio-impedance of biological cell cultures. The principle of measuring bio-impedance is to measure detailed electrical properties of biological samples. The presence of certain molecules has an influence on these electrical properties and one can thus for instance indirectly detect blood glucose or other substances. Even more suited are structural and physiological changes in the cell cultures. It's for example possible to distinguish a healthy cell culture from one that is straining, or to simply monitor the growth of a cell culture.
A microscope picture of the chip while we were testing the electrodes with micro-probes.
The project shall put the MEA to work and start setting it up to be able to characterize cell cultures. In a first instance we shall work with just saline solutions, then with hydro-gels and water to experiment on a sample that has a non-uniform structure and should result in different measurements when pairing different electrodes. And finally if all of these are successful, measure some living cell cultures.
To that purpose the candidate shall program a FPGA or microcontroller development board (such as the Pynq-board) to control the MEA chip and PCB and assist in experiments where your supervisors expose the MEA to appropriate samples. He will also need to provide approriate AC signals to test impedance and record the result and complete the impedance analysis.