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Micro Instrumentation


A significant challenge to exploiting generic physic-chemical characterization of bioaerosols lies in the development of field portable instrumentation. The ideal portable analytical instrument should deliver:

  • Immediate, accurate and reliable results
  • Not require sample preparation
  • Easily portable with low logistics burden
  • Simple to operate
  • Good data processing and transfer capability
  • A common platform that can be easily reconfigured for multiple applications

We are particularly interested in the use of camera-enabled mobile phones, nanobioreactors and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy to create simple portable analytical procedures based on our long experience of optical and electro-acoustic sensor technologies. For example, bioproduction involving bacterial and mammalian cell culture has traditionally been performed in conventional bench-scale bioreactors; however, such operations possess several limitations in cost, throughput and maintenance. Miniaturisation of these bioreactors allows cellular environment to be well-controlled, physiological activity to be observed, and the cost of running and maintaining these miniaturised bioreactors to be dramatically reduced. Our research aims to develop non-consumptive holographic sensors suitable for use in a nanolitre chamber to monitor the pH, glucose and CO2 from microorganisms such as Lactobacillus casei and Saccharomyces cerevisiae. The smallest pH-sensitive holographic sensors successfully fabricated to date on PMMA are 500μm in diameter.

NMR is not easily miniaturized for field use since the unavoidable spatial inhomogeneity of the static magnetic field has precluded the use of these devices for high resolution spectroscopy. We are developing new principles for NMR spectroscopy which are capable of miniaturization.


List of Projects and Members:

Mobile Phone-based Reader for Holographic Systems – Dr Gita Khalili Moghaddam

Miniaturised Holographic Sensors for Nanobioreactors – Mr Leon Chan

Development of Portable NMR for Bacterial Detection – Miss Alexandra Grigore