SEMOFS project needs more work, partners say

The partners in the Surface Enhanced Micro Optical Fluidic Systems (SEMOFS) project are currently discussing the possibilities for further cooperation and follow-up projects.

The partners in the Surface Enhanced Micro Optical Fluidic Systems (SEMOFS) project are currently discussing the possibilities for further cooperation and follow-up projects.

The initial project, supported by Euro 1.9m in funding from the European Commission, was to develop a new concept for the diagnosis of cancer: a polymer-based, plasmon-enhanced SPR-sensor integrated into an active microfluidic cartridge.

The project partners said the biosensor would allow simpler, faster and systematic screening possibilities. Doctors, for instance, would be able to diagnose a health disease using only a few micro-litres of blood taken from a patient.

The integration of sensing and assay functionality into a compact device would offer the opportunity for a fully integrated cartridge-like device and would lead to a Lab-on a-Chip.

A polymer-based technology that applies a label-free optical detection based on surface plasmon resonance (SPR) has been developed. Both active and passive optical components (light source, waveguide, and detector) as well as fluidic elements for active liquid transport and immobilised biological material will be integrated in the cartridge.

The project partners say the final product will be manufactured with large-scale, mass production techniques. The cartridge will therefore be low cost and disposable while providing increased sensitivity and diagnostic possibilities.

The project consortium involves multi-disciplinary expertise split among eight partners from five European countries (research centres, universities, SMEs and others): CEA (France), CSEM (Switzerland), Chemnitz University of Technology (Germany), Cardiff University (UK), Eurogentec (Belgium), Zeptosens - a division of Bayer Schweiz (Switzerland), Hospital of Liege (Belgium) and ALMA (France).

SEMOFS was finished in February 2009 and the hardware components of the integrated approach have been proved to be technically operable. Estimations show that the cost target of < €50 is reachable. The chosen concept can also be considered as feasible for the new integrated biosensor approach. However, the partners say some of the aspects targeted in the project need to be addressed and researched in more detail, including the integration of all components into one single device - to allow for clinical testing, for example.

A first step will be to apply the components in several different applications such as: excitation (OLED, OLED+PL material), microfluidic, polymer photodiode array for low cost spectrometer, fast optimisation in plasmonic devices design and surface coating.

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