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Microfluidics

Mikrofluidic components and systems for innovative products

Expertise | Fields of Application | Team | Network & Collaborations | Spin-offs | Projects | Most important publications | In the media

 

Expertise

 

Our research focuses on microfluidic components, such as micro-dosing valves, droplet sensors, flow sensors, disposable microfluidic chips, etc., which we develop specifically with a view to dedicated, novel applications.

Integrated into complete systems we realize fully automated, miniaturized and product-specific prototypes of innovative laboratory devices.

We demonstrate the unique functionality of these devices in the respective applications and by technical characterization using quantitative physical and molecular biological methods.


Our research is mainly directed towards industrial and pharmaceutical production, in-vitro diagnostics, laboratory automation and medical technology.

We have particular expertise

  • in single cell analysis,
  • the production of spheroids and 3D cell cultures
  • and microphysiological organ-on-a-chip models,
  • 3D bioprinting of artificial tissue
  • as well as in the field of 3D multi-material printing of hybrid polymer and metal components for microelectronics.

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Liquid handling solutions for
the automation of laboratory processes

In our research, we realize innovative, miniaturized automation solutions based on new contactless sensor and dosage technologies.

Our activities range from

  • the development of miniaturized autonomous processing systems for microtiter plates
  • to closed-loop controlled microdispensing systems,
  • and the prototyping of complete laboratory workstations.

 

We develop complete solutions and modules as well as single components, e.g. for imaging or online process control.

Our focus is

  • on non-contact sensor technology,
  • methods of machine learning,
  • and the use of disposable components for hygiene-critical applications.


Based on these activities, the start-up cytena GmbH was founded in 2014 to commercialize our patented single-cell printing technology.

 

 

 

 

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Microdispensers & Micro Valves -
Contact-free dosing methods for smallest liquid quantities

Our speciality is the contact-free dosing of smallest liquid quantities in the micro- and nanolitre range as free-flying micro-droplets or liquid jets.


We are researching new processes for

  • viscous and particle-laden media,
  • high-throughput microdosing,
  • and for printing of living cells as well as difficult technical materials like liquid metal microdroplets.

Such processes play an important role, for example, in pharmaceutical research, medical coatings, biotechnology and 3D printing.


Regarding the development of microdispensing systems, we focus on precision, reliability and prevention of contaminations by using hygienic disposable components.


Based on this research, the start-up BioFluidix GmbH was founded in 2005 to commercialize our patented PipeJet technology.
 

 

Full screen video by double click.

 

 

 

 

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Spheroid Array

 

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Top Spot

 

 

 

 

Fluidic measurement technology:
Volume verification for dosing systems and
liquid handling devices in the nano- and microliter range

The multi-principle volume measurement system developed by us combines non-contact measurement methods based on integrated and miniaturized sensors and high-precision reference methods.

Due to our own software and the combination of different measuring techniques, we have a suitable tool for fully automated characterization and visualization of all kinds of dosing processes.


Our range of methods includes

  • the rheological characterization of liquids,
  • the quantitative measurement of dosed volumes with gravimetric, stroboscopic and fluorometric methods,
  • high-speed recordings of dosing processes,
  • and the measurement of small liquid flows using µPIV and MEMS sensors.

 

 

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Droplet Impact

 

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Nano Jets

 

 

 

Fields of Application

 

Life Sciences

In the context of 3D bioprinting, we do research on digital printing of artificial tissues for in-vitro applications to reduces animal testing (organ-on-chip systems) and for applications in regenerative medicine (living implants and artificial organs).

We focus on the printing of artificial kidney tissue for in-vitro models and on vascularized bone tissue for prospective use in medical therapy.


The analysis of single living cells is a important technology in the field of basic and cancer research. With our unique single cell printing technology, we have created a flexible tool to better explore cell heterogeneity and cellular processes.

Together with our spin-offs (cytena GmbH and Actome GmbH) we are investigating innovative analytical methods to quantitatively detect proteins and protein interactions in single cells.


For the development of monoclonal cell lines and for the cultivation of single spheroids or artificial tissues, we are developing autonomous microbioreactors and miniaturized processes in order to reduce costs and development cycles for biopharmaceutical production as well as for pharmaceutical research.
 

 

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Extrusion of cell suspension

 

 

Industrial applications

The StarJet technology developed and patented by us for printing liquid metal micro-droplets is mainly used in the field of 3D metal printing and 3D multi-material printing.

Using solder, aluminium and other metals, we realize high-precision microstructures for electrical contacting of microelectronic components and solar cells.

Our contact-free processes are equally suitable for

printing flexible foils with highly conductive contacts,

innovative micro assembly and 3D electrical connection technology in microelectronics

and for the production of 3D printed metal components.

 

 

Full screen video by double click.

 

 

 

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Metal Printing

 

 

 

Team

 

 


Network & Collaborations

 

 

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Hahn-Schickard

 

 

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  Freiburger 3D-Druckallianz

 

 

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    microTEC Südwest
    Fachgruppe Drucktechnologie

 

 

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  Freiburger Zentrum für
  interaktive Werkstoffe und
  bioinspirierte Technologien

 

 

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    Artel

 

 

 

 

 DINIso

Technical Committee ISO/TC48
Laboratory equipment

 

 

 

 

 


Spin-offs

 

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„BioFluidix was spun out of the research group in 2005 as a microtechnology company specialising in the liquid handling of very small volumes. Today, BioFluidix with its proprietary technologies is leading the way in printing, dosing and coating solutions and helps its customers to minimize the consumption of expensive media, increase throughput and thus save costs in daily processes."
BioFluidix GmbH

Full screen video by double click. 

 

 

 

 

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BioFluidix GmbH – Microneedle Coating with the BioSpot Workstation

 

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cytena provides fully automated single-cell dispensing products for cell line development and single-cell genomics. The single-cell-printing technology is based on an inkjet-like principle. A microscope objective and a camera are used to look into the printhead, to directly image the cells. Based on these images, only single-cells are printed and the images are stored for quality control and regulatory compliance.”
cytena GmbH

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Cytena GmbH – Single-cell printer technology

 

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„With the analysis method of Actome GmbH, which translates protein complexes into DNA codes, for the first time proteins and their interactions in the human body can be determined very precisely in large numbers. Actome hopes to help its clients to develop personalised drugs and diagnostic methods so that in future patients can be treated more individually and better.“
Actome GmbH

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Projects

 

 

 


Most important publications

 

 

In the media

 

3D-Bio-Printing

  • Bioprinter: Freiburger Wissenschaftler wollen Gewebe mit eingebauten Blutgefäßen drucken,
    Badische Zeitung (22.08.2020), more
  • Vom Autoteil bis zum Zahnersatz - so vielseitig ist 3-D-Druck, Badische Zeitung (20.07.2020), more
  • 3D-Bio-Net in "Wirtschaftsstandort Baden-Württemberg", p 148 (03/2020), more
  • PR Uniklinik Freiburg & IMTEK (21.11.2019), more
  • Interview auf SWR2: Organe aus dem 3D-Drucker (16.04.2019), more
  • TV-Beitrag über die Bioprinting-Forschung an der Uni Freiburg (14.06.2018), more
  • PR, Uni Freiburg (31.05.2017), more

 

  

Lebendige Knochen aus dem 3D-Drucker

  • uni leben (05/2015, S. 5), more
  • kunststoffxtra (05/2015), more
  • Pressemeldung der Technischen Fakultät (03/2015), more

 

 

BioFluidix GmbH

Gesundheitsindustrie BW über BioFluidix GmbH (Fachbeitrag, 2010), more

BioFluidix erhält Unternehmenspreis:

  • Uni Freiburg, Pressestelle (11/ 2015), more
  • Step Award 2015 (S. 9), more

 

 

cytena GmbH

  • Spin-off erlöst 30,25 Mio EUR (08/2019), more
  • cytena gründet Tochterunternehmen in Taiwan (07/2019), more
  • 3 Mio. Euro für Wachstum und Entwicklung der cytena GmbH (03/2019), more
  • Ausgründung kooperiert mit Unternehmen in den USA (09/2017), more
  • Ausgründung von cytena GmbH (Badische Zeitung, 07/2014), more

 

  Awards for cytena

  • Landesinnovationspreis für IMTEK Start-up cytena GmbH (11/2017), more
  • IMTEK start-up cytena erhält den Sonderpreis Innovation der Technology Fast 50 – Deutschlands am schnellsten wachsende Technologieunternehmen (11/2017), more
  • cytena, ein Spin-off der Universität Freiburg, erhält 1,1 Mio. Euro Startkapital vom HTGF und einem Privatinvestor (2015), more
  • CyberOne – Hightech Award Baden-Württemberg für cytena (11/2015), more
  • FAIM-Förderpreis für cytena (01/2015), more
  • Science4Life Venture Cup 2014 – cytena gewinnt bei Deutschlands größtem Businessplan-Wettbewerb (07/2014):

 


Actome GmbH

  • Actome ist "TOP 50 Start-up 2019" (01/2020), more
  • IMTEK-Gründerteam beim bundesweiten Wettbewerb Science4Life Venture Cup erfolgreich (03/2019), more

 

 

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