Research Topics

  • Optical Chemo- and Biosensors
  • Nano and micrometer sized (magnetic) sensor particles
  • Optical glucose sensors
  • New indicator dyes for optical sensing
  • Optical multi-analyte sensors
  • Integrated optical sensors based on organic optoelectronic components
  • Time-resolved imaging and microscopy with lumincescent indicators
  • Microfluidic devices / Lab on Chip with integrated optical sensors

Research projects - ongoing

FWF: Thermally Activated Delayed Fluorescence (TADF)-based Molecular Thermometers

Optical sensors based on luminescent materials have become an integral part of analytical chemistry as they offer distinct advantages over conventional sensing schemes. They are inexpensive, miniaturizable, non-invasive, allow contactless measurement and are suitable for imaging of analyte distribution. Sensors for pH, ions, oxygen, carbon dioxide and other analytes already have been well established, but the field is still intensively investigated in search for more advanced probes, expanding the scope of analytes and applications. The aim of this project is to implement emitters based on TADF in the field of optical temperature sensing.
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Porous Materials@Work

The lead project „Porous Materials @ Work” aims at establishing a technology platform within the Graz University of Technology’s research portfolio by connecting existing skills and by developing expertise in nanoporous materials as a new and exciting state of matter. Porous Materials @ Work aims at excellence in science, research, and training to create a beacon that attracts scientists and industry alike to work with TU Graz faculty and to draw from their considerable expertise. 
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FFG-CAS: FastNanoTox - Fast nanotoxicity test with multifunctional microfluidics systems on gut microbiota and algae

FastNanoToxTest addresses the need for rapid assessment of the potential toxicity of nanomaterials and nanomaterials containing samples. A biofilm- and sensor- integrated microfluidic screening platform is developed to determine the toxic effect of engineered nanomaterials on the intestinal flora and aquatic organisms.  The microfluidic chip system is based on bioprinted cells combined with inkjet-printed integrated sensors providing dynamic metabolic data of the cell viability. The development is supported by fundamental research on the biological effects of nanomaterials on the gut microbiota and algae as model organism.
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Horizon 2020: EUROoC - Interdisciplinary training network for advancing Organ-on-a-chip technology in Europe

EUROoC will create a trans-European network of industrially oriented specialists fully trained in development and application of the emerging Organ-on-a-chip (OoC) technology. OoC technology is advancing at breath taking pace due to its potential impact in drug development and personalised treatments of disease. EUROoC comprises a collection of innovative research projects addressing the development of advanced OoC systems with higher physiological significance going beyond current in vitro testing. The EUROoC project will create advanced OoCs, which closely recapitulate properties of the respective organ tissues in vivo regarding cell types, microenvironment, organ-specific tissue
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Research projects - completed

FFG: Next generation upconversion nanomaterials for bioimaging with approved nanosafety by microfluidic cell assays

NextGenUpcon sets out to improve luminescence upconversion nanomaterials to facilitate their wider application in energy systems, barcodes, diagnostics, and biomedical research. Rare earth doped upconversion luminescent nanomaterials (UCNM) are new fluorescent materials and undergo anti-stokes emission processes, where the long-wavelength pump sources (typically 980 nm or 808 nm) are upconverted to short-wavelength luminescence ranging from the deep-UV to the Near-Infrared (NIR).
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EU-FP 7: STEMM-CCS - Strategies for Environmental Monitoring of Marine Carbon Capture and Storage

Carbon dioxide Capture and Storage (CCS) has been identified as an important mitigation strategy to reduce anthropogenic carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and thereby combat the rising levels of atmospheric CO2 responsible for global climate change and ocean acidification. CCS is seen as a key contribution to reducing anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions by 80-95% by 2050 and keeping global temperature increases below 2°C, as outlined in the European Commission’s ‘Roadmap for moving to a competitive low carbon economy in 2050’.
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EU-FP 7: SCHeMA - Integrated In Situ CHemical MApping Probes

SCHeMA aims at providing an open and modular sensing solution for in situ high resolution mapping of a range of anthropogenic and natural chemical compounds that may have feedback (synergic) interaction: toxic and/or essential Hg, Cd, Pb, As and Cu trace metal species; nitrate, nitrite, and phosphate nutrients; species relevant to the carbon cycle; volatile organic compounds; potentially toxic algae species and toxins.
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EU-FP 7: SenseOCEAN - SenseOcean: Marine sensors for the 21st Century

senseOCEAN brings together the leading sensor developers from academia and industry across Europe to enable a quantum leap in worldwide in situ ocean biogeochemical sensor technology. It will produce fundamental innovations in analytical sciences fusing together new techniques for microfabrication, system integration, self calibration and cost-effective mass production.
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EUROMBR: Integrated Training Network for Inovative microbioreactor applications (Marie Curie)

The objective is to deliver a trans-European network of industrially oriented specialists fully trained in the development and application of microbioreactor (MBR) technology to support development of innovative bio-based manufacturing processes.
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EU-FP 7: BIOINTENSE - Mastering bioprocess Integration and intensification across scales

BIOINTENSE is directed at addressing the challenges of low productivity and process intensity frequently hampering the implementation of bioprocesses in industry.
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ERC: OXYGEN - How oxygen regulates the structure and function of microbial ecosystems

Our aim is to develop and use cutting-edge high-sensitivity oxygen detection systems to explore how oxygen regulates the metabolism of aerobic and anaerobic organisms in experimental systems and in nature. We will explore and understand the complex structure of low oxygen ecosystems on the present Earth, and the evolution of these ecosystems through time in the face of changing concentrations of atmospheric oxygen.
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CHEBANA - Chemical Bioanalysis

Chemical Bioanalysis aims for retrieving selective information out of complex biological systems. Sensors, probes and devices are the future tools of medicinal diagnostics, environmental monitoring, food analysis and molecular biology.
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ERA-NET: Magnetic Nanosensor Particles with Luminescence Up-conversion Capability

The joined research project aims to investigate multi-functional nano particles for optical chemical and biochemical sensing. The beneficial functionalities combined in one nano particle include: magnetism, luminescence up-conversion, sensing and light harvesting.
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Indicators for long-wave excitable luminescent sensors

The project is focused on designing luminescent sensors which can be interrogated with long-wave emitting light sources. To realize this, novel red-light excitable oxygen indicators and fluorescent pH indicators are synthesized and characterized.

Optimization of Optical Glucose Sensors for Monitoring Critically Ill Patients

The continuous monitoring of blood glucose concentrations is beneficial to reduce the morbidity and mortality of critically ill patients. Therefore, an optical enzymatic glucose sensor was developed.

Optical ammonia sensors with detection limits in the ppb range

Sensitive and selective sensor materials for on-line monitoring of gaseous and dissolved ammonia are developed in this research project. The survey of the ammonia concentration in drinking and surface waters for environmental analysis, fish farms.

Database of fluorescent dyes, properties and application

The objective of is to provide an accurate, high valuable and comprehensive catalogue of fluorescent (luminescent) dyes, their properties and application. The initiators intend to create a useful tool for scientists working with fluorescence.
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ISOTEC- Integrated organic optical sensor arrays

The research project, as a part of the ISOTEC Cluster project, established an integrated organic optical sensor platform suitable for the parallel detection of multiple parameters in an array format.
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Comprehensive Study of the Effects of Sterilisation procedures on Sensor Materials

Sterilisation is a main precondition for the application of sensors and bio-sensors in different application areas. However, data of the effects of sterilization on the sensor materials is sparse.

Nano- and microsensors for the application in biofilms

Due to the ubiquity of biofilms in nature it is of great interest to understand their metabolism and the interaction of the different parts and organisms inside a biofilm. For this porous optical thinlayer and nano sensors are used to investigate the oxygenation and other parameters with high spatial resolution on the surface or even within the biofilm itself.

Lise Meitner-Program: Optical multi-analyte sensors

This project is aimed to realize optical multy-analyte sensors that are capable of simultaneous measurement of 4 parameters. Three chemical parameters (pH, pO2 and pCO2/pNH3/salinity) are determined and combined with optical compensation for the temperature effects.

Closed Loop Insulin Infusion for Critically Ill Patients

The research group is envolved in this EU project of 6th Framework Programme. In brave, Clinicip has the aim to develop a low-risk monitoring and control system which allows to maintain metabolic control of critically ill patients in the intensive care unit.
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Sugar responsive fluorescent nanospheres

In this research project we develop sugar responsive nanosensors based on the osmotic presure driven swelling of an amphiphilic polymer. The volume transition is tracked by resonance energy transfer (RET) of co-polymerized donor and acceptor dyes.
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Microsphere Sedimentation Bioarrays

A new measurement platform to analyze multiple assays in parallel in a single well of a standard microplate is developed..The approach is based on optically addressable encoded magnetic microbes as carriers for a series of bioassays.

Screening of Microcolony chip with optical sensor layers

Directed evolution has become a widely used technique in enzyme development. It leads often to vast libraries of potential new variants which have to be examined. High throughput methods offer the possibility to examine huge amounts of sample in parallel.