Biotechnology and Bioanalytics

Automatisierte Pipettenbefüllung eines Multi-Organchips im Multiportalrobotiksystem.
© Fraunhofer IWS
Automated pipette filling of a multi-organ chip in the multi-portal robotic system.

In the field of biotechnology, optical processes provide a wide range of tools to analyze and control biotechnological processes. The institutes in the Fraunhofer Group for Light & Surfaces develop processes and systems that can be used to carry out bio-technological processes or to examine the individual steps of a biotechnological process chain.

By combining microfluidic systems with optical technologies, researchers have been able to create novel miniaturized analytical and diagnostic systems. This way, they are able to address versatile applications for medical diagnostic, biotechnological or analytical issues. Microfluidic or topographic structures in glass, for example, can be generated in three dimensions using the SLE (Selective Laser Etching) method developed at Fraunhofer ILT. In addition, waveguides can be generated to conduct light in three spatial dimensions. Applications can be found, for example, in the field of particle analysis for biotechnology and medicine.

As miniaturized probes and optics are developed and adapted to requirements for specific applications, novel measuring methods have been advanced with which spectroscopic information can be acquired in chemical or biotechnological processes. For example, light-scattering methods can be used to determine particle sizes between one nanometer and many micrometers. New developments make these analytical methods capable of working in-line, so they can be used for real-time process monitoring.

With special lab-on-chip systems developed at Fraunhofer IWS, medical applications such as, for example, organ-on-a-chip as well as technical issues on biosystems can be covered. The main focus of the work is as follows:

  • Developing, designing and manufacturing lab-on-a-chip systems for in vitro testing,
  • Developing automated measurement systems for the assembly, monitoring, supply and analysis of lab-on-a-chip systems,
  • Developing, integrating and optimizing optical measurement technologies for lab-on-a-chip systems and
  • Characterizing analyte-ligand interactions by means of surface plasmon resonance (SPR) technology (e.g. protein-protein, antigen-antibody, DNA-DNA and RNA-DNA).

In addition to measurement-related issues, the institutes can also provide technologies for the production of components and substrates for biotechnology. Fraunhofer IST, for example, is developing novel technologies for the plasma-functionalization of microfluidic systems. Microplasmas are plasmas which have a spatial extension of up to a few tens of micrometers. By applying microplasmas, the institute is able to selectively adapt surfaces to the desired application or even to coat the already covered channels of microfluidic components. In addition to changes in wettability, which can be exploited, for example, in the field of microfluidics, surfaces that have chemically functional groups can be specifically applied at particular locations. This way, they provide a basis for further coupling reactions for diagnostic detection systems.


Your contacts at the institutes are:

Contact Press / Media

Dr. rer. nat. Christoph Janzen

Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT
Steinbachstr. 15
52074 Aachen

Phone +49 241 8906-8003

Fax +49 241 8906-121

Contact Press / Media

Dr.-Ing. Frank Sonntag

Fraunhofer Institute for Material and Beam Technology IWS
Winterbergstr. 28
01277 Dresden

Phone +49 351 83391-3259

Contact Press / Media

Dr. Michael Thomas

Fraunhofer Institute for Surface Engineering and Thin Films IST
Bienroder Weg 54 e
38108 Braunschweig

Phone +49 531 2155-525