Area of research: Microfluidics, Electrochemical Engineering, Interface Phenomena
Name of my Research Institute: Queen’s University at Kingston, Ontario, Canada
Research period at the TU Darmstadt: September 2016 to July 2017
Questionnaire to the Research Fellow
My field of research is fascinating. To laymen I would explain it in the following comprehensible manner:
My research is concerned with phenomena and fluid manipulation in geometries below a millimeter which is called Microfluidics. All microfluidic systems benefit from scaling effects such as high surface-area-to-volume ratios which increases the relevance of several phenomena which are not that important in regular macroscopic technical systems. Hence, our research aims to understand the fundamental nature of microscale phenomena and to utilize them to design micro systems with much higher efficiencies than their larger counterparts.
My most important success in research to date is…
Our group developed several components for Lab-on-a-Chip (LOC) devices. An ideal LOC integrates a multitude of chemical/biological laboratory tasks on a single chip measuring only few square centimetres in size. Flows in the microscopic LOC channels are typically slow and rapid mixing is very difficult. We developed a simple micromixer along with sophisticated optimization strategies to effectively mix substances at very low flow rates. These LOCs also need on-board miniaturized power supplies. We are the first group who manufactured reliable and rechargeable metal hydride thin-film batteries on microfluidic substrates.
I’ve chosen the TU Darmstadt because…
The overlapping research interest and the impressive quality of research of my host Prof. Dr. Hardt. Additionally, the Center of Smart Interfaces at the TU Darmstadt is known as a leading facility for investigating flow and interface phenomena.
Questionnaire for the host
Guest of: Prof. Dr.rer.nat. Steffen Hardt
Department: Mechanical Engineering
You appreciate in your guest: his very accurate and thorough working style, centering around true insight. Nowadays, sometimes a publish-or-perish mentality prevails, focusing more on scientific impact than on insight. By contrast, Prof. Barz’ work is always detailed and profound and puts sustainable progress in science into the focus.
You, your team and the TU Darmstadt benefit from your guest’s… tremendous experience in the field of electrokinetic flows. In our group, electrokinetic flows are of growing importance and are studied both using theoretical/numerical and experimental techniques. Prof. Barz hopefully finds an environment with a lot of inspiring research going on. In turn, I expect that my group members and me will benefit from his ideas and his knowledge.