Combining our know-how on chemical engineering and precision and micro-machining

Combining our know-how on chemical engineering and precision and micro-machining technology, our group is ideally positioned to develop novel devices and processes in the area of microfluidics and microreactor technology.

The ability to accurately position tailor shaped micron-sized structures by precision machining enables microfluidics novel physical and chemical phenomena.

This research line is fed by the vast know-how in micromachining (ranging from sub-micron lithographic etching to micro-precision CNC machining), by the department’s extensive know-how in flow modeling (CFD), as well as by the application know-how in the fields of catalysis and separation science of the department.

Besides on-chip characterization procedures by means of fluorescence microscopy and other on-chip detection methods, the validation of the prototypes occurs with commercially available characterization equipment.

Some currently explored research topics in this area are:

  • Analytical pillar array columns for ultra-high efficiencies (De Malsche-group (µFlow), Dr. Jeff Op De Beeck, in collaboration with spin-off PharmaFluidics and Prof. Han Gardeniers of UTwente, NL)
  • Pillar array columns for size exclusion and integrated optical detection schemes (De Malsche-group (µFlow), Manly Callewaert, in collaboration with Prof. Heidi Ottevaere, VUB and Prof. Han Gardeniers of UTwente, NL)
  • Miniaturized columns for pharmaceutical analysis (De Malsche-group (µFlow), in collaboration with Prof. Deirdre Cabooter, KUL, B)
  • Carbon and Zr based reactors for extreme pH and T applications (De Malsche-group (µFlow), in collaboration with Prof. Marc Madou of UCI Irvine, USA and Prof. Han Gardeniers of UTwente, NL)
  • Length separation of dsDNA (De Malsche-group (µFlow) in collaboration with Prof. Chris van Hoof of Imec, B)
  • Field-flow-fractionation (De Malsche-group (µFlow), Manly Callewaert, in collaboration with Prof. Wim Kok of UvA, Amsterdam, NL)
  • Tackling challenges of particle handling in microreactors: towards production level microreactors (De Malsche-group (µFlow), Tobias Vandermeersch in collaboration with Umicore, B)
  • Emulsion crystallization in microreactors (µFlow, Niels De Meirleir, in collaboration with Proctor and Gamble, B)
  • Emulsified-stratified-segmented flow reactors (De Malsche-group (µFlow), Jonas Hereijgers, in collaboration with Dr. Tom Breugelmans, Artesis University college, B)
  • Membrane reactors for extraction and reaction equilibrium shifting (De Malsche-group (µFlow), Jonas Hereijgers, in collaboration with Dr. Tom Breugelmans, Artesis University college, B)
  • 2D and 3D separation devices containing polymer packings
  • Microfluidic solutions for column and detector hyphenation in liquid chromatography

Involved Staff: Bas, Jelle