Description of the activity
The research activity is based on an innovative technique developed in ISASI labs that we call pyro-electrohydrodynamic jet (p-jet). It makes use of the electric field generated by the pyroelectric effect in ferroelectric crystals. The field faces the free surface of a liquid reservoir, thus inducing a surface charge in the liquid. When the charge effect is high enough a Coulomb repulsion occurs on the surface of the liquid and tiny droplets (down to pL) are ejected with high repeatability. Compared to other electrohydrodynamic techniques we have here the great advantage to have a nozzle-free modality since the electric potential generated by the charged surface of the crystal acts directly on the free meniscus of the liquid. This allows us to avoid detrimental effects related to nozzle clogging, especially when working with high viscous liquids. Moreover, no external electrodes and circuits are required thanks to the use of the spontaneous electric field generated by the pyroelectric effect. Different heating sources can be used according to the specific application. The capability to generate tiny droplets is used here for highly sensitive biosensors through the precise accumulation of a specific number of jets which produces spots of biomolecules with high local concentration. Limit of detection below 10 pg/mL can be achieved through this new technique. The pyro-electric effect could also used for the fabrication of 3D polymeric microstructures for drug-delivery applicatio
National and International Collaborations
Vrije University of Brussels (Belgium); University of Linz, Soft Matter Physics (Austria); VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland; Ginolis Ltd. (Finland), IRCCS Centre “Bonino Pulejo” (Italy).
Facilities: LAB. Micro-printing e nano-fluidica/ LAB. Interferometria/ Lab. Caratterizzazione Campioni/LAB BioLab
Active projects and contracts
FET-Open project “SensApp”, Grant Agreement 829104, coordinator Simonetta Grilli, http://www.sensapp.eu/