Postdoctoral researcher to develop large area microfluidics and active elements for lab on chip

Leuven - PostDoc
More than two weeks ago

Join our team of experts in microfluidics, processing, biosensing and thin film electronics as a Postdoctoral researcher to develop large area microfluidics and active elements for lab on chip!

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Postdoctoral researcher to develop large area microfluidics and active elements for lab on chip


Imec is the world-leading research and innovation hub in nanoelectronics and digital technologies. The combination of our widely acclaimed leadership in microchip technology and profound software and ICT expertise is what makes us unique. By leveraging our world-class infrastructure and local and global ecosystem of partners across a multitude of industries, we create groundbreaking innovation in application domains such as healthcare, smart cities and mobility, logistics and manufacturing, and energy.

As a trusted partner for companies, start-ups and universities we bring together close to 3,500 brilliant minds from over 70 nationalities. Imec is headquartered in Leuven, Belgium and also has distributed R&D groups at a number of Flemish universities, in the Netherlands, Taiwan, USA, China, and offices in India and Japan. All of these particular traits make imec to be a top-class employer. To strengthen this position as a leading player in our field, we are looking for those passionate talents that make the difference!

What you will do

Lab on chip technologies have increasingly been used for addressing challenges in medical diagnostics fields. Despite great promise in the past two decades, there are limited examples that exploited the full potential of lab-on-chip. One reason for this is the difficultly in integrating a complete analysis system on chip. Especially the sample pre-processing which purifies the target cells or molecules from the complex background of a clinical sample makes the integration difficult. In fact, most of the current research and commercial devices focus on “end-point” sensing, for example single cell or single molecule detection. Although the progress is exciting, it often requires costly and time-consuming sample preparation of clinical samples off chip. This contributes to the poor growth of the microfluidic market.

This project aims to integrate several active support elements on large-area polymer electronics chip that allows electro-active processing of biological sample of fairly large volume. The chip elements include fluid handling with pumps and valves, fluid observation/monitoring using imagers and sample preparation elements using electrokinetic techniques. Ultimately, we will be integrating sample preparation and end-point cell/molecule detections in a single system. Hereby, we make clinically relevant sample-in and answer-out format possible. All active elements used in the system will be fabricated using an inexpensive large area fabrication approach rather than the typical CMOS approach.

Imec’s life science department has a long history of using back end of line fabricated microfluidics in cell and small molecule isolation and detection systems. This research has rapidly expanded in the last years and has contributed to many different sensing platforms. Also, imec’s large area electronics department is very well known within the field of organic electronics such as imagers and displays. The implementation of active components in large area electronics will allow high throughput and low-cost cell and biomolecule sample preparation techniques.
In this position, microfluidic circuitry will be modeled, simulated and developed in conjunction with the active components mentioned above. Devices will be fabricated and assembled in imec’s cleanroom. Testing of individual components and their eventual integration will lead to a complete LOC device. As a test application, multi-layer polymer fluidic structures will be designed and fabricated, with built-in active elements, i.e. pumping, imaging and spatial manipulation.

In this position, you will:

  •  Perform microfluidic device design, modelling and simulation;
  •  Select and characterize materials and develop large-area manufacturing processes using imec’s cleanroom facility;
  •  Troubleshoot processing and fabrication challenges;
  •  Design, fabricate and test demonstration devices with increasing functionality;
  •  Automate test setups that include electrical and optical components;
  •  Design and execute test plans together with application scientists; Bring ideas from concept to proof-of-principle;
  •  Work closely with an interdisciplinary team of engineers and biologists.

Promoter: Paul Heremans (
Co-Promoter: Jan Genoe (
Mentor: John O’Callaghan (

What we do for you

We are pleased to offer you the opportunity to join our multicultural and high-tech company in Leuven, Belgium. In exchange for your talent, passion and expertise, you can get a challenging job in an environment were even more challenges are for the taking. We are proud of our flexible, progressive and informal working environment with a range of possibilities to take initiative and show responsibility. We can provide you an opportunity to contribute to the technology that will determine the society of tomorrow.  We commit to supporting and guiding you in this process; not only with words but also with tangible actions. Through, 'our corporate university', we are actively investing in your further development to assure your technical and personal growth. We are aware that your valuable contribution and the one of your colleagues make imec a top player in its field. Your energy and commitment are therefore appreciated by means of an attractive and competitive salary with many fringe benefits.

Who you are

  •  You have a PhD in physics, electrical, chemical or mechanical engineering or equivalent major.
  •  We appreciate your hands-on experience with electrical and fluidic measurements.
  •  Your skills in finite element modelling (COMSOL, ANSYS) are a strong asset.
  •  We are looking for your experience with microfluidics and/or microfabrication. Experience with laboratory programming such as Matlab or LabVIEW is a plus.
  •  Given the multicultural team you will work in, good knowledge of English is a must.

This postdoctoral position is funded by imec through the KU Leuven. Because of the specific financing statute which targets international mobility for postdocs, only candidates who did not stay or work/study in Belgium for more than 24 months in the past 3 years can be considered for the position (short stays such as holiday, participation in conferences, etc. are not taken into account).

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