This project concentrates on the development of a highly sensitive optofluidics platform for combined Raman and IR microscopy on small liquid sample volumes. To this end, the project team combines the core competencies of the In Situ Spectroscopy, Protein Dynamics, and Nanostructures groups in the areas of microfluidics and optics. Important applications of the optofluidics technology are biosensors, lab-on-a-chip devices, or molecular imaging tools for biochemical analyses. Optofluidic systems are especially well suited for drug development and chemical biology research, for in situ monitoring of production and reaction processes, and for quality control in on-chip detection.
In a former project in the scope of the ISAS strategy fund, the In Situ Spectroscopy and Protein Dynamics groups developed a novel microfluidics platform for infrared microscopy. An essential feature of this platform is the use of enhancement substrates that enable the sensitive detection of adsorbed biomolecules. In this follow-up project, the platform will be extended to sensory applications and Raman spectroscopy analysis. The new platform enables the label-free detection of proteins, for instance for the investigation of oxidative stress kinetics or for the detection of interactions in protein complexes. It is therefore an important extension of the current spectrum of methods and may help to analyse essential processes in cells that play a crucial role in many diseases.