Compact, multimodal spectroscopic devices for the read-out of microfluidic organs-on-chip

Scope of the method

The Method relates to
  • Animal health
  • Human health
The Method is situated in
  • Basic Research
  • Translational - Applied Research
Type of method
  • In vitro - Ex vivo
This method makes use of
  • Human derived cells / tissues / organs
Specify the type of cells/tissues/organs
Human cell lines


Method keywords
  • DILI screening
  • photonics read-out units
  • multimodal method
  • fluorescence
  • Raman spectroscopy
Scientific area keywords
  • free-form optics
  • fluorescence spectroscopy
  • Raman spectroscopy
  • lab-on-chip
Method description

Recent improvements on the structural aspects of organ-on-chips pave the way towards a large-scale application. As such soon the number of read-out instruments that are in operation in parallel will need to drastically increase. Unfortunately, standard read-out equipment is bulky, complex and expensive. Therefore, our research activities concentrate on the introduction of a new paradigm topic to develop compact multimodal (spectroscopic) imaging units; namely polymer-based freeform optics. Although we apply a generic approach, the specific outputs within this proposal are units for DILI screening which record fluorescence as well as Raman signals.

Lab equipment
  • Flow cytometer ;
  • Fluorescence microscope.
Method status
  • Still in development

Pros, cons & Future potential


Standard read-out equipment is bulky, complex and expensive. One approach is to embed a organ-on-a-chip device in each well of a multi well plate and to perform the read-out with standard plate readers. Several of these products are already available. However, this approach does not allow a multimodal study of the sample and as such is not able to sense all DILI aspects at once. Therefore we follow a different approach and develop simplified, compact, low-cost, (more compact/less expensive), multimodal (fluorescence and Raman signals) read-out units that enable the in-situ and real-time screening of organs-on-a-chip.


The interdisciplinary character of the topic.


Research is ongoing.

Future & Other applications

The research is carried out in the framework of a FWO project where the focus is on the development of units for DILI screening. Though, we expect that due to the applied generic approach, the concept can be transferred to other applications with a potential impact on improving diagnostic and therapy options in the framework of a personalized healthcare.

References, associated documents and other information

Associated documents

Contact person

Wendy Meulebroeck


Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB)
Faculty of Engineering