Biomimetic capture of odor molecules in microfluidic systems

Published : 19 December 2016

The olfactory system in vertebrate is based on a limited set of neuronal receptors that stills enable the identification of a very large number of odor molecules. These molecules can be detected and identified even at extremely low concentration. Indeed, performances in odor perception of the animal kingdom outperform artificial sensors derived from micro and nano-technologies by several orders of magnitude (electronic noses, NEMS/MEMS sensors). Animal nose is lined with a layer of mucus. This thin viscous layer plays an essential role and remains to be better understood and emulated for the development of future innovative sensors.

The aim of the thesis is the development of a microfluidic system that will mimic the main characteristics of the transport chain of interest. The addition of a liquid phase component constitutes an original starting point for this work. In particular, aqueous solutions and gels materials with different properties will be evaluated so to realize a biomimetic “mucus”. This post-doc position, right at the interface between biology and microtechnology, aims at understanding and re-creating some of the functions observed in mammals for capture of odors molecules in small amount, The post-doc will share his time between LETI/Carnot Institute in Grenoble for the microfluidic and sensors part and Tours University/CNRS for the biological part and flux imaging experiments.

Keywords: microfluidics, microsystems, biomimetic.

Skills: General engineering, fluid mechanics, microfluidics, engineering and conception skills, interest in health and biology.

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