Thermal modelling of enzyme reactions in Lab-on-a-Chip devices

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Dr. Ender Ferenc
Department of Electron Devices

High throughput screening (HTS) is one of the most promising branch of biomedical R&D. Such devices are capable of testing a few hundred samples parallel (for example screening for the presence of a certain pathogen, difference in blood test or genetic mutation) or testing a single human sample for several different agents (e.g. seeking for several different pathogens in a single sample).

The aforementioned devices usually use optical biosensors that may detect fluorescent label molecules attached to the target ones. Many research teams are dealing with alternative detection methods, where the target molecules do not need to be labeled. These label-free methods open new possibilities to detect biomolecules that were impossible or hard to detect with optical methods. Amongst label-free methods that are based on impedance measurements, spectroscopy, and electrochemical measurements, calorimetric detectors are particularly significant. These detectors measure the heat produced in chemical reactions catalyzed by enzymes.

By using the emerging technologies of microfluidics and downscaling sample volumes and sensors, the traditionally poor throughput of calorimetric devices can be increased, though by several orders of magnitude. In this work we investigate the fundamental properties of calorimetric high throughput screening (HTS) systems. The research presented in this thesis tries to analyze the following problems.

- Modeling volumetric enzyme reactions in ANSYS FLUENT software.

- Investigating the temperature difference and distribution caused by the enzyme reactions.

- Comparing the presented methods with the results of the Michaelis-Menten model.

In details our first goal is to model a volumetric enzyme reaction and compare our results with the Michaelis-Menten model. After this we try to simulate a two-phase droplet flow to combine it with the previous model. The final combination of the two methods then result a multiphysical simulation that is capable to describe the actual physical processes in the Lab-on-a-Chip device.

Throughout the whole investigation of the Lab-On-a-Chip device the multidisciplinary approach used for MEMS (Micro Electro Mechanical) device design is applied.


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