Joint Lab Bioelectronics


Microelectronics and biotechnology are performing a convergence process bringing both disciplines closer together. The process is mainly fed upon the development of methods aiming at the understanding and manipulation of nano-scaled objects. The new discipline of bioelectronics has evolved from this convergence dealing with the integration of electronic systems in biological environments and the study of interactions between both material worlds. One major trend is related to biosensors, where the progressive miniaturization enabled the introduction of micro-sensors into biological systems.

The Joint Lab Bioelectronics was founded by TU Berlin and the IHP – innovations for high performance microelectronics in order to deal with this recent development.

Regelmäßige Berichte zur Arbeit des Joint Labs finden sich auf unserem deutschsprachigen Mastodon-Kanal 
(Wie das funktioniert erklärt der Bundesdatenschutzbeauftragten hier)



Subjecting a biological cell in solution to an inhomogeneous electrical field may elicit a dipole moment that can interact with the field.


The surfaces of processed semiconductors become unstable when exposed to bio milieus. In particular, aqueous solutions of electrolytes may easily cause corrosion of inorganic surfaces like Si, SiO2, SiON. Also biological materials degrade upon contact, for which the denaturation of proteins on Si/SiO2 surfaces is a well-known example.

Photonic Biosensors

Within the framework of a BMBF-funded project, an optical biosensor chip is being developed at the Joint Lab, in which the detection is performed by a microring resonator.

Wearables and Implants

Microelectronic systems become increasingly integrated into the human body. The starting point were cardiac implants such as pacemakers and cochlear implants. But many new systems for monitoring the body's own metabolites, technical aids or actuators for pain treatment via peripheral nerve stimulation are under development.

Monitoring of Bioprocesses

The monitoring of small biomolecules represents an important task in the control of bioprocesses. Despite this importance, even after decades of research and development, problems of reproducibility, sensor drift and receptor stability are still being struggled with.

Internet Privacy

The Internet today is characterized by massive interception of private data of its users. For medical Internet-of-things systems, on the other hand, high technical hurdles will have to be implemented to protect the patients' sensitive health data from unauthorized access.


The modules and courses are primarily aimed at students of biotechnology or related disciplines (biomedical engineering, chemistry, physics, electrical engineering, microsystems technology). The current course dates can be found in the course catalogue. We recommend to be present at the first event of the courses, as the organizational framework, including registration, will be discussed at this point.

Einführung in die Bioelektronik

ModulEinführung in die Bioelektronik
VeranstaltungsartIntegrierte Lehrveranstaltung (IV)
PrüfungPortfolioprüfung (benotet)
ModullistenBiotechnologie (Master), Biologische Chemie (Master)
Freie Wahlalle verwandten Studiengänge wie Biomedizinische Technik, Chemie, Physik, Elektrotechnik, Mikrosystemtechnik usw.
VorkenntnisseBachelor in Biotechnologie oder verwandten Fachrichtungen

Die Vorlesung „Einführung in die Bioelektronik“ findet jedes Sommersemester an der TU Berlin statt. Biotechnologen werden in die Grundlagen der Mikroelektronik eingeführt, die anhand von Anwendungsbeispielen aus Biologie und Medizin wie z.B. Membranpotential, EKG, Neurostimulation etc. veranschaulicht werden. Darüber hinaus finden Übungen statt, die die Lösung von internetbasierten Aufgaben und das Erlernen wichtiger EDV-Tools beinhalten. Letztere werden in einer wöchentlichen Übungsgruppe trainiert (z.B. CAD). Am Ende des Kurses können die Teilnehmer ein bioelektronisches System ihrer Wahl vorschlagen oder aus der Literatur auswählen, um es in einer Semesterarbeit mit den erlernten Methoden neu zu entwerfen und so die erlernten Techniken im eigenen Projekt anzuwenden. → zur Modulbeschreibung

Praktikum Bioelektronik

ModulPraktikum Bioelektronik
SWS30 (Blockpraktikum)
PrüfungPortfolioprüfung (benotet)
ModullistenBiotechnologie (Master), Biologische Chemie (Master)
Freie Wahlalle verwandten Studiengänge wie Biomedizinische Technik, Chemie, Physik, Elektrotechnik, Mikrosystemtechnik usw.
VorkenntnisseBachelor in Biotechnologie oder verwandten Fachrichtungen, Teilnahme an der ILV "Einführung in die Bioelektronik

At the end of each semester a practical course in bioelectronics is held. In a period of two weeks four experiments on the topics ECG, enzyme sensor, impedance cell sensor and microfluidic cell separation are completed. During these experiments, students learn how to handle simple electronic devices, 3D printers, microfluidic pumps and modern measurement and control systems based on single-board computers such as Arduino and Raspberry Pi. A detailed script serves as a thorough preparation. → module description

Project Work

Due to the increasing interest in project work, more and more practical courses on bioelectronics are now being offered as part of the teaching modules Vertiefungsmodul Biotechnologie FG BVT and Angewandete Biotechnologie aus Sicht der Bioverfahrenstechnik.

For those, who are interested in writing a BSc or MSc thesis, we conduct thorough discussions about their previous work and interests in order to identify their strengths and areas in which they can further develop their potential. The most recently started work was in the fields of cell separation of microalgae, sensory analysis of metabolites, cell density measurement in screening processes, etc. → module description


Master and Bachelor theses can be carried out in the Joint Lab Bioelectronics in the fields as listed under "Research". Just contact us if you are interested. Through discussion we will jointly develop a suitable topic that either has to be dealt with for an ongoing research project or that fits your strengths and weaknesses. In the list below - without claiming to be complete - some possible topics are given.

The calls are aimed at students of biotechnology or other life sciences. On the basis of our cooperation with Faculty IV, interested students from electronics and computer science can also apply.

Electrical cell separation in microfluidic channels. The basic effect is dielectrophoresis. For life scientists, the question of its applicability to microalgae and other microorganisms to be investigated arises. From the point of view of electronics and computer science, on the other hand, it is of interest how the electrical cell properties can be determined or how the separation effect can be optimised using machine learning methods.

In-line process sensors. For the lab-of-the-future at the FGBVT, microsensors are being developed and tested that monitor the bioprocess in microtitre plates or minibioreactors. This includes sensors for the monitoring of biomass as well as metabolites. The principle of impedance measurement is used to measure biomass or cell density. For metabolites such as glucose we use special receptor assays such as ConcanavalinA-dextran.

Privacy for medical implants. Chemical sensors e.g. for glucose are on the verge of being used as full implants in medical diagnostics. This opens up completely new perspectives for the therapy of difficult diseases such as diabetes. But what about the privacy of the data obtained? How are the technical systems to be designed so that they meet the strict requirements of the DSGVO, which came into force last year? These questions were discussed in the lecture series "Internet and Privacy" and approaches to solutions are to be examined that are oriented to the development status of fitness trackers.

Electrically driven lysis of cells. In nucleic acid diagnostics, nucleotide strands to be examined must first be isolated from the cells. While detection and sequencing are now miniaturized, this is not yet the case with lysis. The aim of the work is to build a chip-based system that will allow the lysis process to be operated efficiently. At FG Sensorik und Aktuatorik an electronic system based on commercially available components is to be designed and built, and a "passive" chip with Au or TiN electrodes is to be controlled by this system. At FG BVT the system will be tested and protocols for different cell types will be studied to achieve maximum throughput and efficiency.


Prof. Dr. Mario Birkholz

Since 2012 Mario Birkholz and Peter Neubauer have headed the Joint Laboratory for Bioelectronics, which was founded by TU Berlin and IHP, the Leibniz Institute for Innovative Microelectronics. In his research, he has focused on photoactive membrane proteins, solar cell materials, structural investigations of thin films and - since 2004 - the use of microelectronics in biotechnology.

The rising field of Bioelectronics is so fascinating because it opens the door to a fusion of functional materials from technology and nature. In his lecture "Introduction to Bioelectronics", Prof. Birkholz brings this approach to students every summer semester and introduces prospective biotechnologists to the modern techniques of microelectronics.

Current research projects deal with cell manipulation with electrical techniques as well as with the use of microsensors for monitoring bioprocesses. In addition, an implantable biosensor has been developed for monitoring the blood sugar level. Here, as in e-health in general, the question arises as to how the data obtained can be made available to patients and medicine without violating privacy.


Joint Lab Bioelectronics
Institute for Biotechnology
Ackerstr. 76, 13355 Berlin
Room Z33
+49 30 314-21159

Scientists & Graduates

NameSurnameTitleE-MailPhone (030) 314-
AltmannMadelineBSc 72023
PokoraMarcBSc 72023
SchulzeLisaBSc 72023



Präsentationen auf Konferenzen

  • A. Barai, J. Flügge, A. Hutari, P. Neubauer und M. Birkholz, Dielektrophorese-basiertes Lab-on-Chip-System zur Separation von Mikroalgen, 8. MikroSystemTechnik Kongress, 2019, Berlin
  • N. Boldt, J. Späth, S. Hartmann, M. Birkholz, R. Thewes, The Impact of Signal Quality in Dielectrophoresis Experiments, BioCAS Conference Taipeh 2022
  • M. Birkholz, M. Kögler, K. Paulick, Wie viel Energie verbraucht mein Handy, um mich zu überwachen? Workshop auf dem Bits&Bäume-Kongress Berlin 2022
  • S. Hartmann, L. Raue, M. Emmerich, P. Neubauer, M. Birkholz, Electroporation of PUFA-Producing Dinoflagellate, 7thBioProScale Symposium 2022, Berlin, März 2022
  • A. Henriksson, J. Marland, A. Tsiamis, S. Smith, M. Birkholz,  System integration of a dielectrophoretic assisted microring resonator biosensor platform, Mikrosystemtechnik Kongreß, Ludwigsburg, November 2021
  • A. Frey, N. Boldt, A. Barai, M. Birkholz, I. Kühne, R. Thewes, Modeling and Analysis of the Electrolyte Voltage Drop in Dielectrophoresis Actuators, BioCAS 2021, Berlin, Oktober 2021 
  • N. Boldt, D.E. Malti, S. Damm, A. Barai, M. Birkholz, R. Thewes,  Impedance Matching in Dielectrophoresis Experiments, BioCAS 2021, Berlin, Oktober 2021 
  • A. Henriksson, M. Jäger, L. Kasper, P. Neubauer, M. Birkholz, Applying Dielectrophoresis to Improve a Microring Resonator Biosensor Platform, BioProScale Symposium 2021 Online, Berlin, März 2021
  • D. Malti, A. Barai, M.E.P. Emmerich, L.I.M. Hinze, P. Neubauer, M. Birkholz, Separation of microalgae and polystyrene particles by Dielectrophoresis, BioProScale Symposium 2021 Online, Berlin, März 2022