ESA – Life Marker Chip


The LMC (Life Marker Chip) is part of ESA’s Exomars Mission who’s aim is to find traces of past or present life in a Martian subsurface soil sample. The instrument is developed by a consortium led by the University of Leicester (UK) and capable of detecting a wide variety of different biomarkers based on the use of immunoassay techniques.


The LMC Consortium needs a microfluidic chip comprising various reaction chambers, fluid channels, in- and outlets, conductivity sensors and a configurable rotary valve, as well as an evanescent field integrated optical sensor.


For the glass chip we developed a solution based on a borosilicate glass wafer, powder blasting, HF etching, metal evaporation and integration of a hybrid rotary valve. For the optical chip we developed a solution based on TripleX® waveguide technology.

Further Reading:

Integration of Optical Waveguides and Microfluidics in a Miniaturized Antibody Micro-Array System for Life Detection in the NASA/ESA ExoMars Mission

A. Prak, H. Leeuwis, R.G. Heideman, G. Borst.

Read the publication here

Searching for life on Mars: selection of molecular targets for ESA’s aurora ExoMars mission.

Parnell J, Cullen D, Sims M, Bowden S, Cockell CS, Court R, Ehrenfreund P, Gaubert F, Grant W, Parro V, Rohmer M, Sephton M, Stan-Lotter H, Steele A, Toporski J, Vago J.

Read the abstract here