Purdue University Graduate School
Advancements on a Silicon-on-Insulator Thermoelectric Wafer for Biomedical Applications.pdf (1.88 MB)

Advancements of a Silicon-on-Insulator Thermoelectric Sensor for Biomedical Applications

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posted on 2021-05-04, 19:44 authored by Alexis Margaret CordaAlexis Margaret Corda
Heat can be used as a reliable biomarker of cell metabolism. Assessing changes in metabolic activity is useful to study normal bioactivity or factors which may stimulate or inhibit cell proliferation. Methods which measure the heat of cell metabolism over time must be sensitive to the small changes. Thermoelectric sensors, which work by the Seebeck effect, are one method which has shown adequate sensitivity. This type of sensor directly converts heat energy into electrical energy without the use of a power source. Current research into sensors for cell metabolism may list lengthy, complex, and expensive procedures or include materials with rare or toxic elements. This work establishes a design approach of a silicon-based thermoelectric sensor for cell metabolism measurement which incorporates abundant and non-toxic materials and a simple procedure based on standard MEMS fabrication methods. The foundation for the sensor design is discussed. Fabrication was done using optical lithography, reactive ion etching, and electron beam evaporation which are standard and well known in industry. Sensor quality was characterized successfully based on the defined design parameters. Preliminary data has been recorded on the Coli cell metabolism. Finally, recommendations to improve heat insulation, include sensor calibration, and optimize manufacturing parameters are given for future work on this design to advance sensitivity and commercial potential.


Degree Type

  • Master of Science in Materials Science Engineering


  • Materials Engineering

Campus location

  • West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Dr. Na Lu

Additional Committee Member 2

Dr. Christopher Emery

Additional Committee Member 3

Dr. Lia Stanciu