Foto Ana RitaAna Rita Silva

Master student in Micro - Nanotechnologies

Degree in Biomedical Engineering

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Current Project

Photocatalytic treatment of antibiotics and toxicity assays with Vibrio fischeri of degradation by products.

The photocatalytical treatment of water allows to degrade pollutants to by-products with lower toxicity, as water, CO2 and inorganic compounds.
Bacteria Vibrio fischeri is used to evaluate the biotoxicity of photocatalytical by-products. The luminescence of the bacteria Vibrio fischeri is used to test the toxicological potential of these intermediates compounds. If a substance is toxic towards these bacteria, their normal luminescence decreases, as a consequence of bacteria viability decrease.
The aim of this work is the incorporation of Vibrio fischeri single cells, surrounded by the semi degraded antibiotics (e.g.: ciprofloxacin), and test the impact of the by-products on the luminescence of bacteria. Also, evaluate the toxicity of ciprofloxacin by-products, obtained during different UV-A irradiation times and after addiction of photocatalysts.
Additionally is interesting test the toxicity of TiO2 and ZnO nanoparticles, exposing the bacteria at different contact times.

 AR2

Work scheme and graphic with Luminescence of bacteria during 35 minutes of contact with negative control samples and ciprofloxacin degradation samples at t=0 and t=15.


 

CIMG3206Ana Catarina Lima

Master's Degree Student in Biophysics and Bionanosystems

Degree in Physics

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Current Project

Tailoring P(VDF-TRFE)/zeolite porous membranes
One of the polymers that stands out in advanced applications, including the development of sensors and actuators is poly(vinylidene fluoride), PVDF, because of its piezo-, piro- and ferroelectrics properties. This polymer is also known for its high dielectric constant and the existence of several crystalline phases. From this polymer it´s possible to develop some copolymers, such as poly(vinylidene fluoride-co-trifluorethylene) (P(VDF-TrFE)), that among others, can crystalizes always on a electroactive phase and presents a well defined and controllable porosity.
Zeolites are crystallines structures with well-defined porosity and molecular dimensions capable of retaining ions molecules within it. They are commonly used in catalysts systems and start to be used in controlled drug release.
The combination of P(VDF-TrFE) with zeolites (such as NaY) is something innovative, and in literature exists one reference to this topic in which a microporous membrane of P(VDF-TrFE)with NaY membrane was produced to be applicable in ion-lithium batteries through the solvent casting technique.
It has been verified that the inclusion of zeolite increases the porous size and the degree of porosity.

Fig1

SEM images, with the same ratio of polymer/solvent, and with different percentages of NaY zeolite


 

fotobruna FILEminimizerBruna Gonçalves

Master student in Micro-Nanotechnologies

Degree in Chemistry

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Current Project

Development of an array of piezoresistive sensors based on printing techniques
The printing technologies of polymer-based materials represent a new paradigm for the best integration of sensors in various application at low prices. Nowadays, force and strain sensors are the most used and necessary sensors.
In this research project, will be developed polymer-based flexible force and strain sensors, using green solvents, printed by printing techniques such as screen printing and spray printing.

 

figura 1figura2 FILEminimizer

Left: An interdigitated pattern printed on a flexible substrate by screen printing technique.Right: Example of the printing process of screen printing technique.


 

Bruno 1Bruno Magalhães

Master Student in Micro and Nano Technologies

Degree in Physics

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Current Project

Polymer Optical Fibers for Water Decontamination
My work is focused on the development of polymer based optical fibers for water decontamination using photocatalysis based on semiconductors nanocomposites. Polymer optical fibers can be used as both catalysts support and as a light transmission tool. This approach avoids light loss due to scattering, avoids filtration processes and allows its re-usability. They are also eco-friendly and cost effective. They will be subject to a clad removal, and dip-coating process to support the photo catalysts.
The catalysis will be tested by degradation of pharmaceuticals namely antibiotics and evaluated by photo-spectrometry.

Bruno 

Figure 1 - Transmission of Visible Light in PMMA Optical Fibers


 

Carlos MCarlos Matos

Master degree in Industrial Electronics and Computer Engineering

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Current Project

Development of a reconfigurable capacitive keyboard based on printed technologies

My work aims to create a capacitive keyboard with the possibility of reconfiguration. Based on print technology, this project seeks to harness use of the advantages of this technology and create a low-cost and low complexity system. In the development of this keyboard is necessary to pay attention to all the factors of production, as is one of the main objectives of this work is to create a prototype that comes close as possible to a commercial product so as to be regarded as a viable alternative to other solutions on the market.

Carlos M esquema1

 

 

Carlos M esquema2

Figure 1 - Mutual-capacitance on a projected capacitive touch screen panel (Left) Mutual-capacitance sensing method (Right) [1] K. Lim, K. Jung, C. Jang, J. Baek, and I. Kang, "A Fast and Energy Efficient Single-Chip Touch Controller for Tablet Touch Application. 


 

Catarina FerreiraCatarina Ferreiraa

Master student of Applied Physics

Degree in Physics at the Universidade do Minho

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Current Project

Modeling of nanocatalyst doping towards enhanced photocatalytic activity.


Photocatalysis has been widely studied in the environmental field, since it provides a way to destroy harmful compounds through the use of solar light. One of the most important photocatalysts is Titanium dioxide, TiO2, which has high oxidation power and durability. However, its large band gap only allows this catalyst to be activated by UV radiation, which corresponds to just 3 to 5% of the solar spectrum. To overcome this limitation, TiO2 particles are usually doped with noble metal, forming a semiconductor nanocomposite. In this context, my current work uses computational modelling as an helpful tool to develop theoretical studies about band gap structures of TiO2 doped nanoparticles, in comparison with that of the bulk material. The photocatalytic efficiency of these particles under visible light will also be evaluated experimentally.

anataserutile

Atomic structures of anatase (a) and rutile (b) TiO2


 

HenriqueHenrique Mora

Master student in Micro-Nanotechnologies

Degree in Physics at the Universidade do Minho

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Current Project

Photocatalysis using magnetic particles.


The principle of photocatalysis is to accelerate the cleaning process of polluted waters. A photocatalyst is a material that accelerates chemical reactions by using UV radiation or light as an energy source, providing an photocatalytic oxidation which accelerates the formation of hydroxyl radicals, strong oxidizing agents able to breakdown numerous organic compounds. Magnetic nanoparticles are a suitable approach for recovering and reuse magnetized photocatalysts from water by applying an external magnetic field. A passivation layer between the magnetic core and the photocatalyst is important to avoid the deterioration of the particles properties while protecting the magnetic core from oxidizing, photodissolution of iron, and decrease the electron-hole recombination centers. The aim of this work is to use these magnetic nanoparticles to degrade organic compounds (e.g.: ciprofloxacin), and be able to recover and reuse them, without losing efficiency.

Henrique esquema

Representation of a magnetic photocatalyst particle.


 

HSHugo Salazar

Master student in Characterization Techniques and Chemical Analysis

Degree in Chemistry

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Current Project

Development and characterization of polymeric membranes for removal of arsenic compounds from water
Compounds of arsenic (As) in wastewater are a major source of pollution and serious diseases, with particular impact in certain countries, such as India, Bangladesh or Estonia. Currently there are legislation limiting the concentration of arsenic in wastewater (10 µg/L). However, its removal is not entirely controlled, therefore neither all people have access to treated water.
In this project, will be developed membranes for removal of arsenic compounds from wastewater. These membranes are based on polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) copolymer doped with inorganic minerals of iron and aluminium oxides. The purpose of membrane go through oxidize ions As3+ into As5+, and then remove from water, by chemical adsorption.

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 Left: SEM image of PVDF-HFP membranes; Right: SEM image of PVDF-HFP membrane dopped with iron oxide filler.


 

picJoão Barbosa

Master Degree student in Biophysics and Bionanosystems

Master in Pharmaceutical Sciences

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Current Project

Development of a poly(lactic acid) based drug release system
Over the past few decades, several polymers have been tested as drug release vehicles to effectively deliver active compounds into target sites, thus increasing the therapeutic benefit while minimizing the side effects. My current project involves the production of Poly (L-Lactic acid) (PLA) membranes loaded with a model drug – Ibuprofen. In order to hamper the release of the drug to the biological media and increase the loading of the system, the drug will be incorporated inside Zeolite Y, a nanoporous aluminosilicate. Furthermore, exploring the magnetostrictive proprieties of cobalt ferrites (CoFe2O4), these particles will be added to the composite and the application of magnetic fields will allow an active tailoring of the drug release profile.

Graphic1Graphic2

 

 

 

 

 Left: Scanning electron microscopies of 10% PLA membranes without NaY (figure A and B) and 5% PLA membranes with NaY (NaY/PLA mass ratio = 0.5) (figure C and D). Right: Preliminar Ibuprofen release results (figure E).


 

picJoão Teixeira

Master degree in Biophysics and Bionanosystems

Degree in Physics 

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Current Project

Preparation of PVDF based membranes for ultrafiltration of DNA
My work is mainly focused on polymer membranes for ultrafiltration of specific proteins present on DNA.
This polymeric membranes based on polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) are prepared by non-solvent induced phase separation (NIPS) technique. Their morphological, structural and mechanical properties are then evaluated by scanning electron microscopy (SEM), mercury intrusion porosimetry, mechanical stress-strain test, among others. Finally, a dead end cell system is used to assess membranes filtration efficiency.


 

JoseGomesDiasV1José Dias

Master degree in Industrial Electronics and Computer Engineering 

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Current Project

Energy harvesting from elastomeric materials and polymer porous membranes

Looking at energy sources today, alternative energy also comes from energy harvesting.
The dielectric elastomers are polymers that can be used in three different configurations; sensor, actuator and generator, the focus of this work is as generator- Dielectric Elastomers Generators (DEG).
The development and testing of the charging circuit is the objective of this work so that energy collection through mechanical movements of elastomeric dielectrics is available for power generation.


 

Júlio AlvesJúlio Alves

Master degree in Industrial Electronics and Computer Engineering 

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Current Project

Development of a reading system for a piezoresistive array for intelligent prosthesis
One of the areas that has received a large attention on sensor development is the field of biomedical applications for sensors and biosensors.
Sensors based on polymers have proven to be a good choice. The use of printed sensors has some advantages such as its easy production and its low cost of production, but essentially for this this type of project the biggest advantage is the fact that they are printed on a flexible surface, thus facilitating their entry into the prosthesis.
This work is focused on the need to develop a system of reading and acquiring data for a printed matrix of piezoresistive sensors, already developed and characterized, placed inside the prosthesis.


MartaMarta Fernandes

Degree in environmental science (2014), Post graduate in Environmental Sciences and Technologies - Energy (2015) at University of Minho

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Current Project

Toxicity evaluation of TiO2 and CoFe2O4 nanoparticles in aquatic fungi

My work is focused in the potentialy toxic effect that nanoparticles may have on aquatic fungi, more specifically, in aquatic hyphomycetes. The environmental impact of titanium dioxide (TiO2) and cobalt ferrites (CoFe2O4) will be assessed in this work.
Aquatic hyphomycetes are a polyphyletic group of fungi that play a key role in plant-litter decomposition in streams. They produce an array of exoenzymes able to degrade plant cell-wall polymers and increase plant-litter palatability for invertebrate detritivores. Even though these fungi occur in metal-polluted streams, the mechanisms underlying their resistance/tolerance to metals are poorly documented.


 

MacielMarta Maciel

Master's Degree Student in Biophysics and Bionanosystems
Degree in Biomedical Sciences at the Universidade da Beira Interior

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Current Project

Developing and optimization of hybrid structures of polymeric base for tissue engineering

In tissue engineering, the use of smart materials like polymers has been increasingly to support the cell growth. Especially polymers there are capable of provide to growing cells electrical/mechanical stimulus because has been showed they can efficiently modulate the cell's response like osteoblasts, fibroblasts and myoblasts.
The aim of this work is to develop a hybrid structure with a piezoelectric polymer polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) coated with a conductive polymer to create a structure to cell culture and which can provide electric, mechanic and eletromechanic stimulus.

Maciel esquema


 

MargaridaMaria Margarida Cautela

Master's Degree Student in Biophysics and Bionanosystems at Universidade do Minho
Degree in Biomedical Sciences at Universidade da Beira Interior

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Current Project

Biosensorial devices based in the association of biomolecules to plasmonic gold surfaces in glass or polymers

Gold nanoparticles have unique physico-chemical properties which make them excellent for the development of biorecognition platforms (biosensors). Surfaces coated with gold nanoparticles may be functionalized with biomolecules in order to promote specific biorecognition of interest molecules, which can be exemplified with the avidin-biotin system. This project aims the production of spherical gold nanoparticles and gold films in order to create plasmonic gold surfaces in glass and/or polymeric substracts. This surfaces will be functionalized with a compound containing a thiol group at one end and biotin at the other. This will enable the binding between the nanoparticles and avidin. The latest is a special type of avidin – switchavidin – which can bind reversibly to biotin and will allow the development of a reusable biosensor. The interaction will cause alterations that will be detected through optical and/or electrical methods.

Margarida esquema

Schematic representation of a biosensor based in the association of the biotin-avidin complex to gold substracts.


 

nspNelson Pereira

Integrated Master in Electrical Engineering and Computers 

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Current Project

Development of Sliding Magnetic Levitation System
The emergence of new permanent magnets, stronger, smaller and cheaper, has opened doors for the expansion of this technology into new areas such sliding magnetic levitation systems. This project aims to develop a sliding system using magnetic levitation, reducing maintenance costs associated with the components that suffer friction and increase the automation capability with eletromagnets.

work image

Force produced by the combination of permanent magnets and electromagnet for a load of 45N.


 

Pedro PiresPedro Pires

Integrated Master in Electrical Engineering and Computers 

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Current Project

Data acquisition system for temperature sensors obtained by printing technology
The placement of prostheses to aid individuals with amputated limbs requires several precautions to ensure its comfort, convenience and adaptability, preventing the patient of give up using it. This discomfort can be caused by the bad distribution of forces or uneven temperatures in the contact zone of the Human Body with the prosthesis .
In order to correct these imperfections monitoring the distribution of forces and the thermal profile of the contact zone with the prosthesis is required.
This work have as objectives, the development of an electronic system able to perform the acquisition of data in an matrix of printed resistive sensors and also draw an matrix of temperature sensors to be printed by inkjet printing and tested with the system data acquisition in the conditions of use of the prosthesis.


 

fotoPedro Ribeiro

Integrated Master in Electrical Engineering and Computers 

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Current Project

Development of an arsenic sensor based on printed eletronics.
The difficulty in detecting small amounts of arsenic in water is currently threatens the health of millions of people worldwide. As the exposure to this chemical has been associated with high risks for human health, there is a need to quantify the level of arsenic present in aqueous solutions.
To combat this problem will be developed a sensor to measure the concentration of arsenic in water solutions. This sensor will work based on the change in the electrical response as a function of the concentration of arsenic in the water solution.
The sensor is produced using electronic printed.


 

Ricardo MartinsRicardo Martins

Integrated Master in Material Engineering

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Current Project

Synthesis/modification of core-shell nano-particles for li-ion batteries
The work is focused on the production of active materials for battery cathodes by hydrothermal synthesis. This process allows a cheaper method but can result in some defects on the crystalline structure, this defects is what this work wants to eliminate.
Using hydrothermal synthesis I will try to find some alternative materials to lithium to reduce even more the cost of producing batteries.


 

Ricardo PerieraRicardo Pereira

Integrated Master in Biomedical Engineering

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Current Project

Tailoring magnetoelectric materials for biomedical applications
Proliferation, growth and differentiation of specific cells can be promoted and/or improved by the use of active materials. In particular, polymer-based piezoelectric scaffolds have already proved their added value in bone regeneration process due to the voltage generated by the piezoelectric scaffolds resulting from the mechanical stimulation of the patient. Still, in some cases, the patient is immobilized due to bone fracture, and as a result the natural mechanical stimulus does not occur. Such limitation points to the development of new materials able to remotelymechanical and/or electrically stimulate tissues from outside of the human body.
Magnetoelectric (ME) composite materials provide such an innovative tool, allowing the use of an external magnetic field to remotely control tissue stimulation, without the need of patient movement. Those composites are composed of magnetostrictive and piezoelectric materials. Thus, the magnetic actuation ability of the ME composite allows the mechanical and electrical stimulus of neighbor cells.

Ricardo Periera esquema


 

Ricardo LimaRicardo Pereira

Degree in environmental science (2014), Post graduate in Environmental Sciences and Technologies - Energy (2015) at University of Minho.

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Current Project

Development and characterization of polymeric membranes for removal of Fluoride compounds from water

Compounds of fluoride (F) in wastewater are a major source of pollution and serious diseases, with particular impact in certain countries, such as India or China. Currently there are legislation limiting the concentration of fluoride in wastewater (1,5 mg/L). However, its removal is not entirely controlled, therefore neither all people have access to treated water.
This project is focused on the development of composite membranes, based on polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) and active nanoparticles (sorbents), for fluoride compounds removal from wastewater.


 

Ricardo LimaRicardo Pereira

Degree in environmental science (2014), Post graduate in Environmental Sciences and Technologies - Energy (2015) at University of Minho.

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Current Project

Development and characterization of polymeric membranes for removal of Fluoride compounds from water

Compounds of fluoride (F) in wastewater are a major source of pollution and serious diseases, with particular impact in certain countries, such as India or China. Currently there are legislation limiting the concentration of fluoride in wastewater (1,5 mg/L). However, its removal is not entirely controlled, therefore neither all people have access to treated water.
This project is focused on the development of composite membranes, based on polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) and active nanoparticles (sorbents), for fluoride compounds removal from wastewater.