/Lipid bilayers on nanopores - for antifouling and towards hybrid nanopores

Lipid bilayers on nanopores - for antifouling and towards hybrid nanopores

Research & development - Leuven | More than two weeks ago

The integration of nanoelectronics and biological sensors like biological nanopores can only be achieved with suitable interfaces between the solid-state and liquid/biopolymer components.

Nanopores have shown incredible promise in DNA sequencing in small point of care devices, as illustrated by the success of the Oxford nanopore mini-ION sequencer, that was used in the field during the Ebola outbreak. Imec is doing research to integrate nanopores with semiconductor technology. This holds the promise of dense arrays of nanopores with integrated electronics for high-throughput sensing that will enable cost-effective point-of-care DNA or proteomic tests facilitating the early diagnosis of cancer and other diseases. 


This master thesis topic is on using SiN nanopores manufactured by imec using CMOS compatible techniques to detect DNA and proteins as they translocate through those tailored nanopores. To facilitate the use of solid-state nanopore sensors,  a compatibility layer has to be applied on the surface, as to avoid non-specific molecular sticking and protein denaturation on the solid semiconductor surface. In addition, it yields the possibility to combine solid-state with biological nanopores, which could be an ideal marriage of sturdiness and biochemical specificity. 

This project is all about lipid bilayers and how they can be used as an interface between the 'hard' solid-state semiconductor and 'soft' biological materials.

The interaction of lipid bilayer chemistry and surface topography will be investigated towards finding reliable ways of making lipid bilayer coatings of nanopores or lipid bilayers spanning solid-state nanopores that will eventually allow for the insertion of biological nanopores in solid-state nanopores.


We are looking for a student with an interest in experimental work at the interface of physics, biology and engineering.  


Type of project: Thesis

Duration: 1 year

Required degree: Master of Engineering Science, Master of Science, Master of Bioengineering

Required background: Nanoscience & Nanotechnology, Biomedical engineering, Bioscience Engineering, Chemistry/Chemical Engineering, Physics

Supervising scientist(s): For further information or for application, please contact: Pol Van Dorpe (Pol.VanDorpe@imec.be) and Jaco Delport (Jaco.Delport@imec.be)

Only for self-supporting students.