Ongoing research projects
Mankind & Society
Microsystems have potential to meet the UN Agenda 2030 goal to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all. For this, we focus on applications in biomedical engineering, environmental monitoring, and systems that reduce our environmental footprint.
Our research is mostly focused on microfluidics with applications in environmental monitoring, medical technology and close-to-body networks. Below you find presentations of some of our research projects within this research area.
For more information you are always welcome to contact Prof. Klas Hjort.
Softer, thinner and more compliant cochlear implants
Although cochlear implants (CI) have provided hearing and a better life for hundreds of thousands, it can be improved. The complex fine structure of the cochlea and especially its long, winding and narrow scala tympani, with its fragile basilar membrane and thin soft tissue, requires more delicate CI electrode arrays. The aim of the project is to make softer, thinner and more compliant CI electrode arrays by our microfluidic stretchable printed circuit board technology, to reduce trauma and improve remaining hearing at the same time as they provide a better electrical stimulation of the cochlear nerve.
Read more about the project "Softer, thinner and more compliant cochlear implants"
SINTEC -- Soft intelligence epidermal communication platform
We are coordinating this European Horizon 2020 project with eight partners, which will provide soft, sticky and stretchable sensor patches that can be used multiple times and at longer periods. With its dynamic compliance and water repellent permeable encapsulation it withstands vigorous action, sweating and water; making it ideal for an active life. A groundbreaking intra body communication technique gives large bandwidth and secure consumption at low power, allowing for multiplex sensoric inputs from many nodes on the body. To demonstrate the advantages of the novel technology, SINTEC will apply it in clinical environment and in athletics performance evaluation.
Read more about the project "SINTEC -- Soft intelligence epidermal communication platform" at the project´s own web page.
SOMIRO - Soft Milli-robot
We are coordinating this European Horizon 2020 project with nine partners, which will develop and demonstrate the world’s first energy-autonomous swimming milli-robot. The main objective is to show that it is possible to make such a small robot energy-autonomous. The vision is to ease precision agriculture, reducing the environmental impact of farming in terms of carbon footprint, eutrophication and excessive use of pesticides and feed.
Read more about the project "SOMIRO - Soft Milli-robot" on the projects own web.
SSF-Touch - Hardware for Energy Efficient Bodynets
SSF-Touch's goal is to provide soft and comfortable body-worn robotic fabrics to create the feeling of being able to touch and be touched. Of all the hardware needed for the future internet of the senses, actuators for body touch will be one of the biggest challenges as these require a lot of energy. Our goal is therefore to produce groundbreaking nodes and energy harvesters with an order of magnitude higher energy efficiency than what is available today.
Read more about the project "SSF-Touch --Hardware for Energy Efficient Bodynets"
Non-conventional Hybrid Elastomer Systems for Soft Body Machines
Soft materials, such as soft polymers, have been developed for various applications. Elastomers as highly compliant and stretchable polymers can provide unique functionalities for emerging applications such as soft machines. Soft machines, which are made of soft materials, can interact with human and nature in a compliant manner. Soft machines can smartly sense and actuate contacted surroundings by adapting to the geometry of them. To design such soft machines, soft materials should be employed and designed in their properties and processability.
Read more about the project "Non-conventional Hybrid Elastomer Systems for Soft Body Machines"
Miniaturized gas sensors for high-resolution carbon dioxide mapping
The project investigates new ways of measuring CO2 in environmental science. This is important for tracing the source of emissions in various systems, and the project places extra emphasis on flowing water. For example, technology for measuring carbon isotopes is investigated since such analysis can provide information about the source of the evading carbon, and how long it has been deposited. Today's methods have difficulty achieving the spatial and temporal resolution required to be able to map emissions. Our goal is to achieve this by greatly simplifying the analysis.
Read more about the project "Miniaturized gas sensors for high-resolution carbon dioxide mapping"
Form looking for life on Mars, to saving lives on Earth
This project uses space technology to monitor the health of premature babies. The method is called transcutaneous blood gas monitoring and measures the amount of CO2 and O2 in the blood, which provides important information about heart and lung function. The measurement is made by analysing the small amounts of gas that diffuses through the skin. Today, this requires that the skin is heated and the probe is attached with strong adhesive, which can be harmful to the extremely infection-sensitive infants. We have invented a way to carry out the measurement without either heat or adhesive.
Read more about the project "Form looking for life on Mars, to saving lives on Earth"
HPIM – High Precision Inertial Microfluidics at High Pressures
Inertial focusing is a phenomenon where initially randomly distributed particles are focused in well-defined positions as they travel through a microfluidic system. We use high pressures (up to 200 bar) for the first time to enable focusing, separation and concentration of rare particles with high throughput. Examples of such particles are circulating tumour cells in blood that provide important information about cancer or bacteria causing sepsis. This new technology achieves excellent performance for focusing and concentrating particles, provide an extreme resolution, and the systems are stable, predictable and easy to design.
Read more about the project "HPIM – High Precision Inertial Microfluidics at High Pressures"
Microfluidal flow and pressure control for high pressures
High-pressure analytical chemistry is used for medical diagnostics and detecting chemical hazards in environmental chemistry. Today, such analyses are made at central laboratories and personnel needs to taker sample, administrate them and wait for results from the central laboratory. We intend to build technology that enables portable analytical systems suitable for rural health services and environmental monitoring. This will ease decision-making, allow more samples to be tested, and reduced samples to be administrated to central laboratories.
Read more about the project "Microfluidal flow and pressure control for high pressures"
Space and our planet
Strange as it may seem, microtechnology plays a role of increasing importance in the exploration and exploitation of the largest we know: our planet, including its deep seas and what’s far beneath its crust, but also space. The reasons differ widely. Very often instruments of outstanding precision are needed, sometimes it is a matter of probing environments accessible only through very narrow bore holes, and occasionally it is a cost issue, especially when hardware shall be put in orbit or travel farther.
The division has a long and remarkable list of past and present R&D activities in this field, most of which have been conducted by the Ångström Space Technology Centre (ÅSTC), which it hosts. For instance, microscale magnetic field sensors have been developed and launched from the International Space Station, a plasma-based spectrometer for search of traces of extraterrestrial life is under investigation, and ceramic microcomponents for harsh environment monitoring and satellite attitude control have been realised.
Carbon isotopes and life on Mars
The project investigates the possibility of creating miniaturized instruments for planetary exploration, more precisely to search for so-called biosignatures on other planets. The focus is on studying sensors that can measure how the isotopes carbon-12 and carbon-13 are distributed in different space environments. On Earth, it is well known that living organisms prefer the lighter isotope carbon-12, so the isotope distribution in residues of biological processes is therefore shifted. If such shifts can be found in space, they can be a sign of past or present life.
Read more about the project "Carbon isotopes and life on Mars".
More presentations of our research projects within this area will be published within soon.
Materials, Manufacturing and Mechanics
he division has its origins in materials science, with a focus on the mechanical properties of materials and manufacturing methodology for miniaturized systems. From this base we have developed a knowledge in mechanical systems, in contrast to the knowledge in electrical and analytical systems that otherwise dominate our research field.
Materials: Polymers, Biomaterials, Ceramics, Glass and silicon
Manufacturing: 3D Printing, PCB Technology, Replication Techniques, Micromaching and Wafer Bonding and Nano-MOS manufacturing
Mechanics: Soft and compliant microsystems, High-temperature Microsystems, High-pressure Microsystems and Fluid and Solid Mechanics
3D printed chromatography resins
The project aims at developing resins for chromatography using additive manufacturing (AM) technology. Different types of AM techniques for optimizing the structure and properties of the resins are evaluated with respect to function and potential in various applications. The choice of material is also a key issue.
Read more about the project "3D printed chromatography resins"
Supercapacitors belong to the top candidates for the next leap in energy storage technology, with a theoretical performance similar to the currently best batteries for applications in e.g. electric cars. In the present project, we will use additive manufacturing (AM) to create an optimum nanostructure of graphene based electrodes and a particular 3D-nanoprinting process, electrowriting of graphene ink, will be developed. The key to reach the envisioned performance is a combination of colloidal graphene chemistry and nanoprinting process knowledge.
Read more about the project "3D-nanoprinted supercapacitors"
A 3D printer for the next generation of supercapacitors
The project includes the development of a new type of test table with nanometer control over cm-sized volumes as well as a new type of printhead. The test table is based on a completely new storage technology that improves straightness and flatness by ten tens compared to the best commercial tables. The writing unit is prepared for electrically field-activated writing technology.
Super capacitors for sustainable grid energy storage
Our project aims at developing processes for large-scale (grid) energy storage with supercapacitors (SCs). Cheap and environment friendly energy storage is a key component for a sustainable society. The project will result in a laboratory scale demonstration of such SC energy storage components with a performance comparison in relation to Li-ion battery storage.
Read more about the project "Super capacitors for sustainable grid energy storage"
Biosignal monitoring devices by AM R&D
The project aims at developing biosensors using additive manufacturing technology. The biosensors are tailored for important applications in the life sciences and are optimized for robustness and high detection accuracy.
Read more about the project "Biosignal monitoring devices by AM R&D"