Martí-Franquès COFUND Fellowship Programme


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Supervisor name and surname:

Xavier Mateos Ferré

Supervisor email:

Supervisor short biography

Co-supervisor name and surname:

Francesc Diaz

Co-supervisor email:

Co-supervisor institution:


Co-supervisor short biography

PhD programme:

Nanoscience, Materials and Chemical Engineering

Title of the research project:

Development of a microfluidic device for microplastic concentration measurements in water.

Description of the research project:

Microparticles are present all around and inside us being invisible to the human eye, with a typical example being suspended microparticles in the sea (microplastics), or bodily fluids (blood, saliva, urine, etc.). Although invisible, they still contain information that can give an indication of water toxicity [1], or even act as biomarkers for specific diseases [2], such as HIV [3] or cancer.
As an example, plastic -based products, including microplastics in water, represent around the 80% of the marine debris. However, the sampling and analytical techniques for the identification and quantification of such microplastics in water, sediments and biological tissues samples are difficult to apply as routine análisis, basically due to the high time consuming, low robustness and high cost. Therefore, the search for a miniaturized functional device capable of identifying and quantifying in real time microplastics in liquid samples is clearly needed.
In the present project, the design, fabrication and characterization of a functional microfluidic device with optical detection is aimed for flow cytometry applications. The advances of the present project with respect the state-of-the-art are related to the miniaturization, in-situ analysis and low cost with respect other under study approaches.
Because a microfluidic system can facilitate the task of microparticles detection in a fluid, we pretend i) the computational design of the microfluidic device, ii) the fabrication of different operational units at the microscale to control the physical behaviour of particles in a channel, e.g. mixture, separation, concentration and focusing on a colloidal system, and iii) the optical detection of the microparticles by means of an optical system, wich might include transmission, luminescence and/or Raman spectroscopy.

[1] F. Wang, C. S. Wong, D. Chen, X. Lu, F. Wang, and E. Y. Zeng, “Interaction of toxic chemicals with microplastics: A critical review,” Water Research, vol. 139. Elsevier Ltd, pp. 208–219, 01-Aug-2018.
[2] B. Nasseri, N. Soleimani, N. Rabiee, A. Kalbasi, M. Karimi, and M. R. Hamblin, “Point-of-care microfluidic devices for pathogen detection,” Biosensors and Bioelectronics, vol. 117. Elsevier Ltd, pp. 112–128, 15-Oct-2018.
[3] M. Kersaudy-Kerhoas, R. Dhariwal, and M. P. Y. Desmulliez, “Recent advances in microparticle continuous separation,” IET Nanobiotechnology, vol. 2, no. 1, pp. 1–13, 2008.
Ethics: This project does not involve ethical aspects.

Workplace location: Campus Sescelades, Tarragona

Gross anual salary:

27103.20 €


Full time

Working hours:

37.5 hours a week

Expected start date:

15 March 2021

European union This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No. 945413