Prof. Dr. ir. Wim De Malsche

Prof. Dr. ir. Wim De Malsche

Office: 5G205
Telephone: 02.629.33.18
Function: Associated Professor





General introduction

Wim De Malsche obtained a Master of Science degree in Bioengineering at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel in 2004. During his PhD work, conducted at the Mesa+ Institute for Nanotechnology (The Netherlands), he developed prototypes of novel chip-based chromatography systems. He is currently active as a post-doctoral researcher (FWO) hosted by the Department of Chemical Engineering (VUB, Brussels) and the Interuniversity Micro-Electronics Center (Imec, Leuven). At the VUB, he is developing and validating miniaturized separation systems. At Imec, he is responsible for the design and fabrication strategies related to separation aspects of lab-on-a-chip systems.


The main focus of Wim’s research concerns the design and microfabrication of pillar arrays that contain dedicated functional layers and features with dimensions that can range from 100 nm to several ?m’s, a system that is proposed as a novel format for chromatography columns. The etching limits are explored and issues such as injection, available interaction surface and detection are addressed. An important target is the integration of the columns into commercial instrumentation, hence tilting the research from an academic prototyping level to an industrial application level. As these capillary type chromatography columns require tiny sample plugs of only a few nm’s, the commercially available connections are inadequate to make a dispersion free transition between separation channel and instrumentation interfaces. This brings along huge technological challenges, which are currently being tackled. To demonstrate the separation potential towards stringent and relevant separation problems, this research is conducted in close cooperation with the industry and with application oriented research partners. The microfabrication is conducted in close collaboration with our fabrication partners the Mesoscale Chemical Systems group at the Mesa+ Institute for Nanotechnology (Enschede, The Netherlands) headed by Prof. Han Gardeniers and with the Heterogeneous Integrated Systems Department at Imec (Leuven, Belgium) headed by Prof. Chris Van Hoof.

Another research activity is related to chemical reaction technology using microreactors. Whereas microfluidics and lab-on-a-chip devices are necessarily produced by etching technology in glass or silicon, microreactors require less accurate fabrication technologies because the smallest critical feature sizes are typically well above some tens of ?m. This allows for (rapid, cheap and easily accessible) mechanical fabrication procedures. By using proper mixing and distribution designs and materials, unique integrated functions can be conceived that can drastically boost the efficiency and speed of chemical operations. Highly monodisperse emulsions or segmented flow systems can e.g. be produced at the start of the reactor and continuously de-mixed again at the exit of the reactor, after an integrated extraction, multiphase reaction or crystallization has taken place. Prototypes in plastics and aluminum are produced with our in-house available milling robot.

Selected publications

  • De Malsche, W. Clicq, D., Eghbali, H., Fekete, V. Gardeniers, H. and Desmet, G. (2006) An automated injection system for sub-micron sized channels used in shear-driven-chromatography, Lab Chip, 6, pp. 1322-1327.
  • De Malsche, W. Eghbali, H., Clicq, D., Vangelooven, J., Gardeniers, H., Desmet, G (2007) Pressure-Driven Reverse-Phase Liquid Chromatography Separations in Ordered Nonporous Pillar Array Columns, Anal. Chem. 79, pp. 5915-5926.
  • De Malsche, W., Gardeniers, H., Desmet, G. (2008), Experimental Study of Porous Silicon Shell Pillars under Retentive Conditions, Anal. Chem., 80, 5391-5400.
  • Illa, X., De Malsche, W., Bomer, J., Gardeniers, H., Eijkel, J., Morante, J.R., Romano-Rodriguez, A., Desmet, G. (2009), An Array of Ordered Pillars with Retentive Properties for Pressure-driven Liquid Chromatography Fabricated Directly from an Unmodified Cyclo-olefin Copolymer, Lab Chip, 9, 1511-1516.
  • De Malsche, W., Op De Beeck, J., De Bruyne, S., Gardeniers, H., Desmet, G. (2012), Realization of 1.106 theoretical plates in liquid chromatography using very long pillar array columns, Analytical Chemistry, 84, pp. 1214-1219.
  • De Malsche, W.,  De Bruyne, S., Op De Beeck, J. Sandra, P., Gardeniers, H., Desmet, G., Lynen, F. (2012), Capillary LC separations using non-porous pillar array columns, Journal of Chromatography A, 1230, pp. 41-47. 

More information

Go to my VUB researcher page.


  • Nanochemistry and -technology: Capita Selecta
  • Milieutechnologie

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