LIBRA: Light based multisensing device for screening of pathogens and nutrients in bioreactors

About Project LIBRA:

Project LIBRA aims to develop a benchtop light based  multi-sensing device for automated screening of analytes and biomolecules in various bioreactors, from stirred tank bioreactors to single use bioreactors (SUB). What sets LIBRA apart is the use of advanced integration and technologies, enabling the creation of a state-of-the-art integrated photonic devices. These modules are designed to analyze bioreactor samples, delving into the details of nutrient compositions and the presence of pathogens. Through LIBRA, we are pioneering a new era in bioreactor sample analysis where precision, efficiency, and innovation converge.

At the core of our initiative lies the creation of a dynamic Photonic Integrated Circuit (PIC), which will be compact, time efficient, cost-effective solution designed for enhanced reproducibility and robustness. This chip integrates laser sources for both Raman and aMZI platforms, alongside individual detectors tailored for each module. It will leverage two cutting-edge light-based sensing modules: a Raman spectrometer and an aMZI refractive index sensing module, both utilizing our TriPleX® silicon nitride platform. The outcome is a sophisticated, all-encompassing solution that promises to elevate the capabilities of bioreactor sample analysis.

In the Raman sensing module, we anticipate a leap in sensitivity by integrating highly accurate and fast tunable hybrid 780 and 850 nm light sources with a large wavelength scan range in combination with stimulated Raman Scattering (SRS), and Waveguide Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy (WERS) techniques. By strategically employing waveguides and SRS, we enhance the emission and direction of Raman scattering, thereby improving collection efficiency within the waveguide. Spectroscopy measurements of the laser sources and Raman signal will also be incorporated, thanks to the design of novel waveguides based integrated spectrometers. To this end two types of spectrometers will explored, an Arrayed Waveguide Grating (AWG) design and a digital Fourier Transform (dFT) spectrometer.

The other sensing platform utilizes aMZI PIC building blocks. The platform uses a sensing window which is sensitive to changes in the composition, density, and temperature of the material the light is travelling through. The sensing window exposes the light to biological samples, thus allowing for the high-accuracy characterization required in diagnostic applications. The Raman and aMZI sensor chips will be incorporated into a single cartridge as part of the final module. A unique integration process, merging the photonic platforms with disposable microfluidic modules and biofunctionalization units, will yield a modular system with interchangeable components. This system is designed to facilitate the screening of nutrients and pathogens in bioreactor samples, catering to the specific requirements of end users.

Schematic of the active and passive chips and final module integration in dedicated cartridges.

Figure 1: Schematic of the active and passive chips and final module integration in dedicated cartridges.

The Role of LioniX International:

As the project will be utilizing TriPleX® silicon nitride, our company plays a crucial role in the development and manufacturing of the photonic chips for Project LIBRA. Our involvement spans all stages of device development, beginning with the functional design for the circuits that incorporate the wafer-level hybrid integration scheme outlined earlier. This design includes the circuit layouts essential for biosensing devices, employing various optimized TriPleX® waveguide types tailored for specific applications. The circuit design progresses to encompass the creation of dedicated circuitries and pockets for hybrid designs.

The development of the wafer-level hybrid integration scheme itself is a focal point, essential for the planned devices. This involves the implementation of new cleanroom processes, incorporating microstructures for wafer-level testing of integrated components. The sensing windows on the chips will be customized for the purposes of Project LIBRA. The lasers used in this application will have central wavelengths at 780 nm and 850 nm. Both will feature 50 nm tunability around the central wavelengths to make the Raman sensing window large enough, to probe the different samples that may pass through the microfluidic cartridges.

Additionally, our contribution extends to advising on the development of electronic components crucial for testing the Raman balance detector and aMZI sensing module.


🌐 Visit the project’s website for a full rundown of its aims and consortium members.

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🌐 Read more about TriPleX® technology and photonic biosensors development at LioniX.

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Funded by the European Union