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Microfluidics, Organic Nanoparticles, Conjugated Polymer Nanoparticles, Nanoprecipitation, Semiconducting Polymer Dots
My research interest lies in the synthesis and characterization of fluorescent, organic nanoparticles using microfluidic platforms for biomedical applications.
With their unique optical properties, fluorescent nanoparticles have shown great promise as light emitting sources in the technological and biological world. Both in LEDs and for bioimaging and –sensing, the color-tunable and bright emission of nanoparticles has played an important role in advancing the current technological standard. In addition to their excellent optical properties, semiconducting, organic nanoparticles, in particular those consisting of conjugated polymers (CPs), show superior biocompatibility due to the absence of toxic heavy metals.
I am interested in looking at semiconducting organic nanoparticles, especially a type of these referred to as Conjugated polymer nanoparticles (CPNs). CPNs are nanometer-sized particles of coiled CPs. These consist of monomers with π-conjugation, which allows electrons to move freely along the backbone of the polymer. CPNs exhibit bright photoluminescence, narrow emission lines and broad absorption. The emission is dependent on compositional properties rather than size.
Semiconducting, organic nanoparticles are typically synthesized via nanoprecipitation in a batch set-up with high material consumption in larger time frames. Synthesis of nanoparticles in microfluidic devices therefore allows precise control over reaction conditions and requires only micrograms of precursors. In synthesizing CPNs, monodispersity and size strongly depend on the mixing time and precision. In a microfluidic channel the mixing can proceed faster and in a more controlled environment.
The goal in my project is to work on a microfluidic platform with integrated optical instruments to both advance on the current status of batch-synthesis and complement it via screening a large parameter space in a shorter time frame.