Progress update from the Nano pilot

Progress update from the Nano pilot

Eleonora Nadin 3 minutes

The NeMs4Bio demo case aims to offer a one size fits all platform standards for nano-enabled microsystems for bioanalysis.

NEMS4BIO aims at lowering the high entry cost for SMEs towards using advanced nano-enabled microsystems in the broad context of bioanalysis. SMEs are often unable to invest in high non-recurring engineering, in identifying and organizing complex supply chains, and long lead development time to establish and use novel technologies for new products or for upgrades to their own products. This barrier prevents SMEs from having a technical advantage from NEMS4BIO technologies while they often have original application and/or business models. The goal is to offer NEMS modules (as an intermediate subsystem/product) to integration partners, taking away the burden of managing the complexity of the internals of the NEMS module development and fabrication process (abstraction). Simply put, NEMS4BIO aims to prevent SME companies from constantly starting from a blank canvas, thereby focussing on the application development and not the basic development of the NEMS components.

The high entry cost can be lowered if technology partners co-invest into the joint creation of such NEMS module technology, i.e. pre-investing into the compatibility and de-risking of a set of largely reusable component technologies and standardising interfacing and integration to a manageable set of solutions. The current approach is mostly dedicated, from scratch product design which requires establishing the full supply chain. The partnership pre-establishes such a supply chain for the core integrated nano-enabled microsystems module in such a way that solution providers/product companies can focus on the application and product differentiation rather than managing the underlying NEMS module development process.

Specific application cases enabled by NEMS modules are:

  • Bio-availability assessment: Developers of pharmaceutical drugs or nutritional supplements need to assess effective uptake of the bio-active substances by the body to prove efficacy and safety
  • Therapeutic antibody production and development: Developers of therapeutic antibodies need to find quick and accurate screening methods to identify whether an antibody generating cell population is producing an immunoglobulin with the desired affinities and in which amounts.

Others are under consideration.


MEMS for nano-analytiX: Microsystems-enabled analytical sensing nanomaterials and devices

The aim of the new demo-case MEMS for nano-analytiX is to deploy Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS) technology for the integration of analytical functional nanomaterials in miniaturized innovative sensing systems. By using selective pre-concentration or molecular recognition nanomaterials it is possible to enhance the performance of existing or emerging sensing systems. The combined use of nanomaterials and MEMS technologies enables higher sensitivity and selectivity while ensuring a smaller size and a low cost. Potential application areas include safety and security, food safety and quality, environmental sensing, industrial process monitoring, smart cities, and indoor air quality monitoring.

Some collaborations are already ongoing between partners of the regions Emilia-Romagna and Nordrhein-Westfalen, with activities at TRL ranging between 5 and 8. Furthermore, the demo-case partners feature MEMS Fab capabilities for the prototyping and small-scale production of analytical sensing devices, microfluidics, and Lab-on-Chip technology, and the main partner of the demo-case is involved in several European and Regional MEMS and NEMS Fab Networks.

One of the main targets of the new demo-case is to find other potential collaborations and extend the range of capabilities and applications. In fact, the MEMS for nano-analytiX value chain is open to:

  • providers of functional nano-materials to be integrated in the MEMS devices (e.g. 2D materials, engineered nanostructures, etc);
  • universities, research centres, and spin-off companies performing R&D on gas sensing systems and analytical analysis systems;
  • SME or large companies fabrication gas sensing systems and analytical analysis equipment.