Open House 2019

ADVANCED IN-PROCESS CONTROL: tailored - affordable - reliable - robust - precise

Five good reasons to join:

  • See live demonstrations of fully functional smart systems for process analysis and life science applications
  • Discover advanced sensors to optimize your processes involving fluids at industrial scale
  • Understand how to manufacture, functionalize and automate microtechnological analysis systems and sensors
  • Learn about the appropriate use of the required equipment
  • Go beyond - discuss your challenges with our experts and get inspired to open up new paths


Five sound opportunities to increase efficiency

  • Spare hands-on time: novel microfluidic on-line measurements of ions and acids/bases
  • Save money: cost effective sizing and in-line measurement of nanoparticles
  • Reduce to the essential: small and micro sized sensors for Industrie 4.0
  • Speed-up analysis: on-line cell counting for improved food safety within hours instead of days
  • Narrow down the target: from 30 billion suspects to 30 arrested delinquents – isolation of circulating tumor cells


Discover new product ideas and parameters for monitoring equipment in manufacturing, food and beverage safety, bioreactors, engines, medical analysis and diagnostics.

We are looking forward to meeting you!


On-line chemical concentration monitor for continuous determination of ions

© Fraunhofer IMM

A laboratory demonstrator for the continuous determination of fluoride in the ppm range will be presented.  The analysis system is based on a flow-through microfluidic system using an electrochemical evaluation method based on potentiometric detection. It comprises a sample preparation and dilution part to adjust pH and ionic strength of the sample and an analytical part to determine the fluoride concentration using ion selective microelectrodes. The sample solution is continuously sampled, e.g., by a bypass loop. It is characterized by optimized fluid design in addition with adapted control and interpretation algorithms that allow simple handling, considerable reduction in measurement time (< 1 min in total), reagent consumption (about 1- 2 L/month), and enhanced reproducibility and repeatability (< 1%). The system is microprocessor controlled and can be designed both as singular and as autonomously working embedded system for application in high throughput procedures as continuous process control unit.

Due to the modular approach of the analysis system the sample preparation and analysis part can be designed according to the analytical assay for detection of single and multiple ions. A variety of detection methods based on optical (e.g., absorption, fluorescence) or electrochemical principles (e.g., conductometry, potentiometry, amperometry) and quantitative analytical methods (e.g., titration, addition or subtraction methods, colorimetry) are possible.     

Based on our knowledge and experience in microfluidic total analysis systems we offer

  • design, testing and prototyping of single modules (sample preparation, analysis) or complete ion monitoring system
  • development and transfer of macro-scale analytical assay to the microfluidic chip format
  • development of miniaturized sensors or sensor arrays for ion detection

Your contact:

© Fraunhofer IMM

Dr. Karin Potje-Kamloth

Dr. Karin Potje-Kamloth, graduate physico-chemist, joined the Fraunhofer IMM team in 2005. Her research focuses on the development of (electro)chemical sensors and on-line/on-site microfluidic analysis systems.

Inline monitoring devices for nanoparticle detection and nanoparticle characterization

© Fraunhofer IMM

Fraunhofer IMM develops continuous processes for nanoparticle production and functionalization. In order to monitor the process parameters in real time, inline analysis is required. The monitoring equipment delivers accurate measurement results both under unsteady flow conditions, such as a pulsating product stream, and at high product throughput. At the same time, it makes sense to check the process waste water for remaining nanoparticles, in order to prevent contamination of the environment. In this case extremely low particle concentrations must be detected. Since the classical measuring methods do not meet these requirements, two new methods based on light scattering were developed, implemented in measuring instruments and successfully tested by measurements of different particle materials as well as in continuous particle synthesis.

Due to the modular design, both instruments can be optimized for different particle systems and working conditions.

Visit us at our station, where you will get a deep insight into the functionality of the devices.
The complementary units will be demonstrated by means of a realized system for continuous production of liposomes with subsequent purification and real-time monitoring of the product.

Your contact:

© Fraunhofer IMM

Dr. Peter Höbel

Dr. Peter Höbel, graduate physicist, joined the Fraunhofer IMM team in 2012. His research focuses on nanoparticle characterization by means of dynamic light scattering and the application of electronics and software for sensor technologies.

NDIR-flow-through-sensor for online-monitoring of liquids

A laboratory demonstrator for continuous monitoring of liquids will be presented, using the example of photocatalytic stilbene isomerization, in the field of process analytical technology (PAT). The analysis system is based on a flow-through cell using non-dispersive infrared (NDIR) transmission spectroscopy. NDIR transmission spectroscopy is realized by using a MEMS-based IR radiation source and a 4-field thermopile detector array, equipped with spectral band pass filters, adapted to the characteristic absorption features in the MIR-spectrum of the samples. Since the technology works spectrometerless, it delivers fast information on time of up to 4 parameters simultaneously, is very cost efficient and robust. The sample solution is continuously sampled, e.g., by a bypass loop. The system is microprocessor controlled, can be operated stand alone and is designed both, as singular and as autonomously working embedded system for application in high throughput procedures such as continuous process control unit. Typical applications are online-monitoring of chemical reactions, like e.g. stilbene isomerization, online-monitoring of lubrication oil quality in engines, gear boxes or hydraulic systems or online-monitoring of cooling lubricants in machine tools. Due to the modular approach of the analysis system, the technology can be adapted to the different application fields.

Based on our knowledge and experience in microfluidic total analysis systems we offer:

  • Spectral investigations of liquids with FTIR and identification of relevant spectral bands
  • Design, testing and prototyping of single modules or complete monitoring system
  • Technology transfer and licensing

Your contact:

© Fraunhofer IMM

Dr. Thomas Klotzbücher

Dr. Thomas Klotzbücher, graduate physicist, joined the Fraunhofer IMM team in 1998. His research focuses on miniaturized optical sensor systems for applications in industrial analytics and laser based processes for micro- & nano-structure formation.

Single Cell Isolation within ONE system: the CTCelect platform

© Fraunhofer IMM

The isolation of circulating tumor cells (CTCs) out of 10 billion other blood cells is like searching for a needle in a haystack? Yes, it is, but our CTCelect System is able to do the job!

CTCelect comprises two functional modules which can be run in combination or individually: The first module enriches the CTCs from a 7.5 ml whole blood sample (removal of 99,999999% of blood cells) and afterwards specifically stains the cells with a fluorophore. The second module implements the optical detection of the cells on a microfluidic cartridge and their successive individual dispensing to the wells of a microtiter plate: one CTC in one droplet in one well. These isolated cells can finally be used for further single cell analysis.

In intensive studies, we characterized the CTCelect process steps with MCF7 cells. For this model system you can expect 93% recovery rate for the immunomagnetic enrichment, 90% for the cell detection and 86% for cell dispension. But the CTCelect system is by far not limited to this model system, to MCF7 cells or even to CTCs. CTCelect is an open platform that offers you the highest flexibility in order to adapt the process parameters (number of washing steps, incubation times,….) and reagents (antibodies, magnetic beads, fluorophores….) to your needs and the objects of your specific interest.     

Visit this lab station and see the isolated single cells with your own eyes!

Your contact:

© Fraunhofer IMM

Dr. Sabine Alebrand

Sabine Alebrand studied Physics at the TU Kaiserslautern from 2004 to 2009 and afterwards made her PhD there in the field of magnetism and optics. She finalized her PhD in 2013 and then joined Fraunhofer IMM, where she is involved, both as a scientist and project leader, in various research and development projects dealing with microfluidic systems.

Point-of-care at its best: Microfluidic PCR-platform for fast detection of infection status

© Fraunhofer IMM

The microfluidic PCR-platform for a fast detection of the virological infection status will be one of the major highlights at the OpenHouse 2019 at Fraunhofer IMM.

The portable prototype instrument is small, light and powerful, having a sample-to-answer time below 45 minutes due to an innovative heating concept.

Thought to detect various serotypes of influenza infections by a PCR-based detection method the prototype is able to carry out up to 18 reactions in parallel (multiplex panels). A further advantage is the easy and fully automated sample preparation which can be easily carried out by non-trained operators. Reagents for PCR are stored on the cost effective microfluidic cartridge, developed by Fraunhofer IMM, which is compatible to mass production.

Influenza is not your target? Customized assays can be realized in an easy manner just by clipping on assay-specific reagent trays.

Interested in seeing the system in action? Visit us on April, 9th!

Your contact:

© Fraunhofer IMM

Dr. Christian Freese

Dr. Christian Freese studied biology at the Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz from 2001 – 2007. Since 2017 he is working at Fraunhofer IMM with the focus on complex organ models, nanoparticle toxicity, development of detection methods for circulating tumor cells and the development of technologies to use liquid biopsy methods in microfluidic systems for the isolation of diagnostic markers.


Temperature mapping of production plants: flexible, modular, decentralized data communication

Many current generation plants usually acquire temperatures and other physical parameters using wired sensors. Access to data obtained by these sensors is most often limited to the control system of the plant. The secondary use of that data to monitor and further analyze the process might be difficult or impossible.

Meet the wireless sensor network platform that we have developed for project INTEGRATE. You will see small data acquisition modules fitted for eight separate temperature measurements with built-in standard wireless connectivity (IEEE 802.15.4), local storage and local monitoring of acquired values. Easy data acquisition network and simple extension: just add a new module and it will be integrated automatically to the network.

Several modules combined can autonomously trigger synchronous long-term storage of data when any one sensed temperature goes out of its normal range. Acquired data can be consumed using standard protocols (IPv6, CoAP) without the need for additional protocol-gateways; the platform has true end-to-end communication.

Wireless communication is the key feature to enable cost-effective retrofitting of existing plants with additional sensors for temperature mapping. Also, conversion of small analogue signals into the digital domain is moved closer to the place of measurement allowing for an increased signal-to-noise ratio. The platform can be operated on battery power. Depending on the process monitored, local energy harvesting might also be feasible.

Your contact:

© Fraunhofer IMM

Jörn Wittek

Jörn Wittek studied Physics at the Johannes-Gutenberg Universität Mainz from 2005 to 2014 and joined Fraunhofer IMM in 2013 for his diploma thesis in the field of FPGA-based real time data processing and analysis. He is currently pursuing his PhD in the field where he deals with the dynamics of particle motion in microfluidic flows and software-based methods for precise measurements of particle velocities.  

Laserwelding of Polymers

Disposable microfluidic chip
© Fraunhofer IMM
Disposable microfluidic chip

For many lab-on-a-chip applications liquid and pressure tight covering of microfluidic channels is required. Among several technologies the laser transmission welding is one of the favorable methods. It is applicable to most of the technologically relevant thermoplastics, requires no filler metals and gives tight and long-term stable interconnections. Typically for laser transmission welding a black absorbing substrate in combination with a transparent cover sheet is required. By using absorbing dyes that are coated onto one of the surfaces in the interface region, also two transparent parts can be welded. Here we demonstrate the technology of diode laser welding on hand with line focus of about 40 mm width that is scanned along the surface of the welding parts. The advantage of this technology compared to contour welding with a single laser focus spot is the higher processing speed as well as the complete welding of the connecting interface, giving higher stability.

Based on our knowledge and experience in micro-packaging and -interconnection we offer:

  • Studies on laser welding of microfluidic chips
  • Customer specified laser-welding machine setup, testing and validation
  • Technology transfer and licensing

Your contact:

© Fraunhofer IMM

Rainer Gransee

Rainer Gransee studied mechanical engineering at the Technical University of Stuttgart and received his degree in 2005. He joined the “Analysis Systems and Sensors” department, focusing on the development of disposable microfluidic total analysis systems for bio-chemical analyses.


© Fraunhofer IMM

Fraunhofer IMM is equipped with a 750 m² cleanroom serving as the technological backbone for many projects and developments with respect to micro technology. State-of-the-art manufacturing equipment is used to run highly advanced lithography, deposition and etching processes to realize innovative product applications according to your requests. We also have numerous analytical tools for structure inspection and quality assurance. Process documentation according to DIN EN ISO 9001 ensures the high repeatability and reliability of even very complex process flows involving many dozens of single manufacturing steps.

Recent developments in R&D communities incorporate radiant resistant bolometers for fusion technology,  a high-precision entrance aperture for a space-born satellite spectrometer and electrodes for neural stimulation. Industrial applications such as a helium permeable quartz chip for leak detection or coatings for various applications are developed in our cleanroom as well.

Visit our cleanroom airlock and have a look onto some of the challenging MEMS applications which we have developed for various industrial and R&D partners.

Your contact:

© Fraunhofer IMM

Stefan Schmitt

Stefan Schmitt studied Physical Engineering at the Hochschule RheinMain University of Applied Sciences from 1994 to 1998, where he received his degree in 1998. From 2007 to 2010, he studied Applied Physics as a part-time study and received his master degree in 2010. He joint Fraunhofer IMM in 1997 and is now working as a MEMS senior engineer and leads the cleanroom activities as Head of Group Sensor Development and Fabrication.