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Biosensors and Biochips

Biosensors and Biochips (UE S3-6)

This course introduces the main concepts related to the design, the fabrication and the utilization of microsystems for molecular analysis in complex environments, liquid or gaseous. Such systems include sensors and biosensors, i.e., systems for the detection of certain chemical species, as well as biochips, which are devices for simultaneous multi-factor analysis,
The course shows how the fundamental notions in the relevant scientific domains (physical chemistry of interfaces, biochemistry, physical measruements, ...) have to be articulated in a coherent way, from the conception of biochips and their fabrication, to the interpretation of the resulting data, in order to achieve an analytical performance that is best adapted to the issue under investigation. We will discuss examples from the domain of academic research as well as commercialized systems, for applications related to health and environment.

Outline of the course

  • Cemical sensors and microsensors
    • Electrochemical sensors: voltammetry, amperometry, conductometry
    • Principles of solid-state chemical microsensors
    • Microsensors for ions (ISFET)
    • Gas sensors (GASFET) and other sensors

  • Biosensors
    • Structure of biosensors
    • Types of bioreceptors (enzymes, immunological receptors, nucleic acids, others)
    • Types of signal transduction (optical, mass transport, electrical, electrochemical)

  • Biochips
    • Classification of biochips
    • Design methodologies and tools
    • Fabrication methods
    • Chemical and biological functionalization of surfaces
    • Analysis methods: genotyping/mutations, gene expression, proteomics
    • Fluorescence analysis on biochips

  • Examples of applications
    • Medical diagnostics
    • Environmental diagnostics
    • Analysis of the transcriptome


  • two written exams

course volume

  • lectures/tutorials:  30 hours
  • practicals: 4 hours
  • ECTS: 5