MSc thesis project proposal

A system for blood analysis of newborns using Microneedles

Jaundice is a worldwide problem. In remote African areas, present testing is still inadequate, leaving jaundice undetected until very serious health problems occur. A more accurate measurement with minimal pain sensation for newborns will be possible using our novel method described below. An overview of the system is shown in the figure. Light is guided through small microneedles, bypassing the outer skin (epidermis). The bilirubin level in the underlying tissue (dermis) is measured by measuring the scattered and reflected light. Typically blue light (460nm) will be absorbed by bilirubine, but other wavelengths give additional information. The microneedles bypass the highly absorbing skin surface and in this way the effects of varying skin type (age, texture and colour) are bypassed. Using this method we expect much better results than existing equipment. Ultimately, the new sensing principle needs to be implemented into a handheld system that can be used by our partners for field tests on patients in Africa


Main challenges of the project are: - Fabrication of a next generation of, disposable, microneedles on a substrate. - Coupling of these disposable needles to a dedicated spectrometer with maximum signal - Development of a low cost optical spectrometer, using a dedicated light source and photodetectors or a CCD camera. - Measurements on bilirubin and hemoglobine levels in artifical skin. - Clinical and field tests in South-Africa.


depending on which part of the project is choosen, the following knowledge and skills will be required: - Basic knowledge of electronics and photonics - A creative and practical mindset - Interest in Optics, Microsystems and Technology - Microsystem design ( e.g. 3D printing and cleanroom work) - Practical approach towards problems


Last modified: 2020-01-31