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THESIS DR. DIETER CROUX - SYNOPSIS

"Development of frequency-based sensor platforms for biosensing applications."

Biosensor research is an ever-increasing field of interest to the scientific community. Countless new biosensing techniques are developed in laboratories and research institutes worldwide, yet relatively few of these have so far managed to reach the commercial market as actual useful applications. Research into new and improved biosensing layers is quite prominent, but the development of suitable sensor platforms for their readout, both in a laboratory environment and for commercial purposes, remains lagging behind.

Molecular imprinting is one such exciting new technique in the development of biomimetic sensors. An artificial polymer-based biorecognition layer, Molecular Imprinted Polymers (MIPs) can provide fast and accurate label-free detection of various target molecules such as L-nicotine and histame. Their long shelf-life and robustness to environmental effects would make them perfect candidates for commercial sensor products.

In this work three different improved sensor platforms for MIP readout are presented. A two-channel temperature-controlled flowcell was designed for electrochemical impedance spectroscopy during MIP characterization in a laboratory environment. A gravimetric arraysensor was developed based on the traditional mass-sensitive quartz crystal microbalance. By modifying the surface electrodes, four independent sensor channels could be achieved in close proximity on a single piece of quartz crystal. Finally a first step towards the application of MIPs as disposable commercial packaging sensors was taken with the development of cheap screenprinted MIP RFID tags. Still in the proof-of-principle stage, such wireless sensors are intended to be seamlessly integrated into existing food packaging.

A complete detailed overview is presented for the realization of these platforms from the theoretical principles to the fabrication steps and validation as useful MIP sensor platforms. Many of the designs and principles presented can be easily transfered to other biosensing techniques. This work aims to provide a solid and broad reference to all engineers, bio-engineers, phycisists and chemists interested in the field of biosensor readout.