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Production research – planar printed sensor technology becomes three-dimensional lab-on-a-chip test carriers

Medical diagnostic tests will permanently change our healthcare in the coming years. Imagine being able to perform urine or blood tests on your own at home, thus monitoring your health much more frequently without having to consult your doctor every time.

Small lab-on-a-chip test carrier systems are the key to such health support. But how can such test carrier systems be manufactured cost-effectively and sustainably ? This is precisely where the smartLab2 project comes in, which is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research under the KMU-innovativ: Produktionsforschung funding measure and supervised by the Karlsruhe project management organization. In the joint project, a continuous development and production process for film-based and thermoformed lab-on-a-chip carrier systems with integrated electronics is being developed.

Electro-sensory circuits (layouts) are printed on a plastic film and formed in a thermoforming process into three-dimensional systems with extended functionalities, such as microfluidics.
In the project, the occurring distortion of the layout due to the deformation of the foil material is already calculated in the development stage by means of simulation software and thus the pre-distortion is determined.
With the help of this development and production method, it will be much easier, cheaper and faster to realize new lab-on-a-chip test systems in the future. The enormously shortened product development process helps to establish novel health diagnostics and will support our society in staying healthy and becoming healthy.


accensors – Foil sensor technology for diagnostic applications
OrelTech – High-performance metal inks for additive manufacturing of printed electronics
SimpaTec – Development of the simulation methodology of the production process and derivation of the product data
Hahn-Schickard – Research institute, which correlates the thermoforming process with layout distortion on a scientific basis.