Metal-metal oxides nanostructured layers for electrochemical biosensors

Updated: about 1 month ago
Deadline: 30 Jun 2021

(ref. BAP-2021-365)

Laatst aangepast : 7/05/2021

The researcher will be part of the newly founded Research Division Micro- and Nano-systems (MNS) in the electrical engineering department (ESAT) of KU Leuven and also the Functional Nanosystems Research Group (FuN) in the department of Physics & Astronomy. MNS comprises about 20 researchers (postdocs, PhD students and technicians) from ten different countries and is led by Prof. Michael Kraft and Prof. Irene Taurino, who is jointly appointed with the department of Physics & Astronomy. Both research divisions offer a dynamic, thriving and interdisciplinary environment and work on a wide portfolio of research projects, including bio-medical and bio-chemical sensors, new materials for micro- and nanosystems, high-precision physical microsensors, resonant based sensors, neuro-probes, energy harvesting, micromachined ultrasound transducers and interface circuits for micro-devices. The MNS core laboratory is the 450 m^2 cleanroom in the KU Leuven Nanocentre (see which hosts more than 30 state-of-the-art tools for micro- and nanofabrication and an active user base of more than 90 researchers. The FuN lab ( offers multiple deposition systems and spaces for liquid syntheses to fabricate functional materials. Dedicated labs for chemical/thermal material treatments are also present.


Recently, metal oxides have attracted great attention as materials for electrochemical biosensors due to their low cost, functional biocompatibility, excellent chemical stability in biofluids and easy anchoring of biorecognition molecules. Drawbacks limiting their practical use in devices are the low conductivity and electron transfer kinetics. Nanostructural forms of metal oxides could overcome these limitations. 

The main goal of this PhD project is to modify electrochemical electrodes with novel nanostructured thin layers of metal oxides (focus will be on vanadium and titanium oxides). Electrochemical performance will be further boosted by adding mobile ionic defects and by doping or hybridization with metals. Deposition techniques will be critically selected to be compatible with the process flow of a microfabricated platform. Examples are sputtering, electrodeposition, chemical vapour deposition and sol-gel methods. The assessment will be based on the structural, microscopic, and electrochemical characterisation. The student will use the advanced facilities of both the Micro- and Nanosystems (ESAT) and the Functional Nanosystems (DEPARTMENT OF PHYSICS AND ASTRONOMY) laboratories. The electrochemical performance of the novel engineered electrodes will be optimized towards glucose and cortisol detection to demonstrate enhanced direct electrocatalysis and assay-based detection, respectively. Electrode conditioning/regeneration protocols directly inside biofluids will be developed.

This research activity establishes the foundations of continuous implantable monitors with multiple year-lasting operational lifetime and will pave the way for a multitude of clinical scenarios. 

- Master's degree in engineering (technology), physics, material science or a equivalent subject.

- Proficiency in English

- Analytical mind, result oriented

- Passionate about research

- Ability to tackle research questions independently

- It is expected that the successful candidate enrols in a PhD program


- four year full scholarship

- access to state-of-the-art laboratories and cleanroom


For more information please contact Prof. dr. Irene Taurino, mail or Prof. dr. Michael Kraft, tel.: +32 16 37 37 56, mail:

KU Leuven seeks to foster an environment where all talents can flourish, regardless of gender, age, cultural background, nationality or impairments. If you have any questions relating to accessibility or support, please contact us at

View or Apply

Similar Positions