MSc thesis project proposal

Fabrication of 3D multielectrode arrays using high-resolution 3D printing

Multielectrode array (MEA) technology has been used extensively over the years to characterize the electrophysiological behavior of electrogenic cells (neurons, cardiomyocytes) in vitro [1].
Current trends in biotechnology, including organ-on-chip and organoid technology, have elicited the need and enabled the possibility to measure electrophysiological behavior of cells along the three spatial dimensions. To accomplish this, electrodes that can be embedded within tissue constructs need to be designed and fabricated.
Although traditional MEA fabrication strategies (e.g., lithography) have been used to create 3D electrodes [2], fabricating electrodes with a high aspect ratio and electrode height towards the mm range can be challenging for those technologies.

An interesting approach to create electrodes with high aspect ratio is the use of high-resolution 3D printing. In particular, stereolithography has been used to create high-resolution geometries with high-aspect ratio features [3]. By introducing highly conductive filler material within the 3D printed features, 3D electrodes can be realized out of such structures.
This is the fabrication approach that is going to be pursued in this project.

This project is part of the Organ-on-Chip workpackage of the Moore4Medical ECSEL JU program, and it will be conducted in collaboration with TNO Holst Centre (Eindhoven) and LUMC (Leiden).

References
[1] Soira, M. and A. Hai, Multi-electrode array technologies for neuroscience and cardiology. Nature nanotechnology, 2013. 8: p. 83-94.
[2] Choi, J.S., et al., Recent advances in three-dimensional microelectrode array technologies for in vitro and in vivo cardiac and neuronal interfaces. Biosens Bioelectron, 2021. 171: p. 112687.
[3] Prabhakar, P., et al., 3D-Printed Microfluidics and Potential Biomedical Applications. Frontiers in Nanotechnology, 2021. 3(6).

Assignment

This experimental project will involve:

 

  • An extensive review of the state-of-the-art in 3D MEA structures and fabrication;
  • CAD design and 3D printing of MEA;
  • Electric characterization of conductive filler materials & prototypes;
  • Functional testing of the 3D MEA’s and implementation in in vitro setting;
  • Reporting.

Daily advisor: Bjorn de Wagenaar

Requirements

You are a motivated student and you like to work in a multidisciplinary setting. A hands-on attitude will be important in this assignment, where a high degree of independency and problem solving capabilities will be required.
You have a background in electronics, physics or biomedical engineering.
You have experience on CAD design and have a basic knowledge, understanding and expertise in 3D printing. Basic expertise on microfluidic technology is welcome.
Proper English communication skills and a pro-active attitude are expected.

Contact

dr. Massimo Mastrangeli

Electronic Components, Technology and Materials Group

Department of Microelectronics

Last modified: 2022-06-07