POLYNANO summer school 2012

PolyNano summer school 2012 - a look back

The PolyNano Summer School gives an overview of the tools and the applications that are most common in the field of Lab-on-chip (LoC) systems.

During the two weeks of the school, the students are given an opportunity to work with state-of-the art techniques both in the fields of fabrication and electrochemical bioanalysis. In order to provide the students an overview of LoC field and bioanalysis at the interface between industrial and academic applications, the Summer School also offers a series of lectures given by representatives of both industry and academia.

During the first Summer School, August 20 – 31 2012, Professor Anthony Turner from Linköping University in Sweden held a lecture on electrochemical biosensing giving an insight regarding commercialization of devices. Professor Sabeth Verpoorte from University of Groningen in the Netherlands held a lecture on the state-of-the-art LoC devices and their commercialization.

The work includes fabrication of all-polymer microfluidic chips by means of Silicon dry etching, electroplating and injection molding. The cleanroom work is done to fabricate a Nickel master that is then used for molding of the polymer parts. Cleanroom techniques are also used, for example, to pattern electrodes on a flat polymer substrate that is then integrated with an injection molded microfluidic chip to obtain a device for electrochemical measurements. Introduction to injection molding gives the students an insight into mass fabrication of LoC devices on industrial scale. The hands-on training in the laboratory, on the other hand, gives the students a possibility to learn the necessary skills in interfacing fabricated electrochemical LoC devices to external instrumentation as well as characterizing their functionality. To prepare the students for laboratory work with applications of electrode modification and electrochemical bioanalysis, such as detection of the neurotransmitter dopamine, lectures are given as an overview of both the theoretical background and introduction to the specific application areas. This ensures that students with a varying background can obtain a working knowledge in electrochemical bioanalysis using LoC devices.

The course assessment is done based on an individual report written by each student. The report is written as a manuscript to a journal chosen by the students from three alternatives. The writing is done by precisely following the author guidelines of the chosen journal when preparing a manuscript for submission. To give the students experience in manuscript writing, the Summer School provides a workshop in article writing. This exercise, aside from serving as an assessment method, also gives the students valuable experience for their future work as PhD students and researchers.