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Modelling of Inertial Particle Microfluidics for Disease Diagnostics

School of Engineering

About the Project

Inertial particle microfluidics is a new and exciting technology with potential for commercial applications of analysis and separation of particles, such as sepsis detection and isolation of circulating tumour cells. Despite nearly 15 years of work, it is currently unclear how the choice of material affects the deformation of inertial microfluidic devices during operation. Deformed devices show modified flow behaviour and therefore separation characteristics of particles. The project will explore the impact of material choice on the performance of inertial microfluidic devices for particle analysis and separation; this will lead to better guidelines for device design and operation. The project is funded by the international collaboration extension grant of the NANOSIS platform led by the Sabanci University Nanotechnology and Applications Centre (SUNUM).

 Aims for the project:

  • to model the deformation of microfluidic devices under operational conditions,
  • to simulate the particle dynamics in deformed inertial microfluidic devices,
  • to provide guidelines for device design and choice of material.

 The PhD student will:

  • build a COMSOL (or similar) model of inertial microfluidic chips to investigate how applied pressure deforms the device during operation,
  • extend an existing high-performance lattice-Boltzmann code to simulate particle flow in segments of the deformed device to investigate particle dynamics and trajectories,
  • analyse results and generate predictive models of device performance.

 The PhD student will work in an active group of around 10 researchers (postdocs, PhD students and undergraduate students) who focus on microfluidic modelling and simulation. The candidate will be expected to spend several weeks per year with our project partners at the Microthermal and Microfluidics Systems Laboratory at the Sabanci University Nanotechnology and Applications Centre (SUNUM) in Turkey (travel restrictions permitting) in order to train researchers in the use of the developed software tools and to assist performing experiments for validation cases. 

We are looking for a candidate who

  • has a good or excellent undergraduate degree in Physics, Mathematics, Engineering, Computer Science or another related discipline,
  • has extensive C/C++ coding experience,
  • is equally interested in microfluidics research and code development,
  • is able to write research papers and contribute to open-source software,

is able to travel to Turkey for a few weeks per year.

To Apply:


General information about the research group in Edinburgh can be found at
General information about the collaborator in Turkey can be found at

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