MSc thesis project proposal

An electroactive polymer-based flow sensor for organs-on-chip

The field of Organ-on-Chip (OoC) is rapidly expanding, which is evident from the growing number of scientific reports, settled companies and various OoC products on the market1. For each OoC system, control over the microenvironment is of utmost importance to be able to steer the incorporated culture to an effective organ model. This includes the control over and monitoring of the fluid flow inside the OoC.

Monitoring fluid flow is not trivial, especially when a sensor needs to be integrated in a fluidic setting. Commonly used flow sensors rely on a thermal sensing principle, which are a drawback when used in cell culture conditions. An interesting approach, which is being developed at ECTM TU Delft, is the use of an electroactive polymer (Ionic polymer metal composite, IPMC, figure 1) to sense the flow of liquid in a fluidic embodiment (figure 2). A first proof of concept was developed, showing the use of the IPMC as a flow sensor.

In this project the flow sensor will be further developed by the optimization of the design, interface and the read-out electronics, and the performance of the sensor will be benchmarked respect to an external reference sensor.


[1] Mastrangeli, M et al. (2019) “Building blocks for a European Organ-on-Chip roadmap”, ALTEX - Alternatives to animal experimentation, 36(3), pp. 481-492. doi: 10.14573/altex.1905221.



  • Duration: 9 months
  • Location: TU Delft, ECTM


  • Literature overview of microfluidic flow sensing solutions
  • CAD design and 3D printing of the microfluidic environment for the sensor
  • Optimization of electrode interface and readout electronics
  • Electrical characterization and optimization of the sensor performance
  • Reporting

Daily supervision: Dr. B. de Wagenaar


You are a motivated student and you like to work in a multidisciplinary setting. A hands-on attitude will be important in this assignment, where a high degree of independency and problem solving capabilities will be required.
You have a strong background in electrical engineering. Experience in CAD design and prior knowledge, understanding and expertise in 3D printing are a plus. Furthermore, basic expertise on microfluidic technology is welcome.
Proper English communication skills and a pro-active attitude are expected.


dr. Massimo Mastrangeli

Electronic Components, Technology and Materials Group

Department of Microelectronics

Last modified: 2022-11-08