Advanced polymer technologies


Analytical microsystems based on lab-on-chip approaches that integrate chemical sensors have been applied in a great variety of scenarios aiming at detecting target analytes of interest in the biomedical, environmental and food fields. In order to fulfill the requirements for each specific application, different components are included for fluid management, sensor interrogation and/or detection. An important activity of the GTQ group has been directed towards the fabrication of such components making use of non-conventional polymeric materials that provide them with advanced features and a highly added value. In this context, hybrid silicon-based polymeric microstructures have been developed by sol-gel technology to construct filters and light sources that were monolithically integrated into photonic lab-on-chips; carbon nanocomposite materials have been applied in the fabrication of versatile thin-film electrochemical devices; biomimetic polymeric matrices have also been developed as specific receptors to be easily coupled to electrochemical transducers of planar configuration in the fabrication of molecularly imprinted based electrochemical sensors; electrocatalytic nanomaterials have also been generated in the manufacturing of robust electrochemical sensors.

Applications

  1. Absorbance microfilters and solid-state light emitters based on doped hybrid silicon-based polymeric materials fabricated by a soft lithographic approach and easily integrated into all-in-polymer disposable photonic lab-on-chips. 
  2. Silicon oxide light sources based on sub-stoichiometric and silicon nanocrystal structures synthesized by a novel sol-gel polymeric approach, showing photoluminescence behavior modulated in the whole range of the visible spectrum. 
  3. Biomimetic electrochemical sensors based on molecularly imprinted polymeric receptors for the detection of small organic molecules. 
  4. Carbon nanotube polystyrene composites and amorphous carbon composites synthesized by a sol-gel process, both containing inorganic nanoparticles applied to the fabrication of miniaturized electrocatalytic sensors for the monitoring of environmental parameters. 
Optical and fluorescence images of hybrid silicon-based polymeric photonic microstructures
made by micromolding in capillaries soft lithographic technique and applied
to the integration of filters and solid-state light emitters in lab-on-chip devices.
 
Transmission electron microscopy image of a lumininescent sol-gel-based
silicon oxide matrix with embedded silicon nanocrystals applied
to the development of light sources.
Scanning microscopy image of a multiwalled carbon nanotube polystyrene composite
including electrocatalytic CuO and AgO nanoparticles. Material applied to the development
of an electrochemical sensor for the measurement of chemical oxygen demand in wastewater samples.