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Dipartimento di Fisica - Politecnico di Milano

Light Integrated with Fluidic Experiments (LIFE)

This laboratory is dedicated to the development and realization of integrated optofluidic devices for various biophotonics applications. The fabrication of these devices is performed with femtosecond laser micromachining, allowing innovative 3D geometries, that are not possible with conventional microfabrication technique. In the specific case of microfluidic channels, the structures are obtained by laser irradiation and by removal of the modified regions with chemical etching (FLICE technique). This innovative approach allows the realization of channels with a high control of their section and position, directly buried inside the substrate. This overcome one of the main problems of lab-on-chip fabrication, i.e. the sealing.
With this approach it has been demonstrated the possibility of the integration of photonic circuits together with microfluidic channels, in order to perform fluorescence analysis or label-free biomolecule detection. More recent activities are focused on the realization of devices for single cell analysis, with the integration of optical tweezers and light-sheet fluorescence microscopy with microfluidics.

EQUIPMENT
This laboratory is equipped with specific instrumentation for the realization and characterization of microfluidic channels: two pressure-based high-precision pump systems with 4 channels each (FLUIGENT and ELVEFLOW), with a resolution of few µbar; one syringe pump for the direct control of the flux at the input or output of the devices; several sensors for the measurement of microfluidic flux, with a resolution down to 1.5 μl/min. Moreover, a fluorescence microscope, for biological samples analysis, and a bright-field microscope, for channel measurement and characterization, are present.
For the characterization and actuation of integrated photonic components, such as optical tweezers or waveguides for detection and illumination, there are several solid-state lasers emitting in visible-light
spectrum and one high-power IR fiber laser with a maximum power of 10 W.



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