Bioprocess Engineering
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.



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

Photonic Biosensors

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

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.

Additive Manufacturing

3D printing or additive manufacturing processes in general have made electrical integration processes much easier. In various projects such as the MRR-DEP biosensor or DEP-based cell separation, the required experimental systems are manufactured using AM processes.

Impedance Spectroscopy

Impedance measurements of cell suspensions represent a well-established technique for determining the density of cells and their electrical properties. It only deserves a parallel plate capacitor or a comparable arrangement between which the cell ensemble has to be suspended.


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.


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


NameSurnameTitleE-MailPhone (030) 314-
AndersHenrikssonDr. 72023
Danai EleniMaltiM.Sc. 72023
AlexanderMenschM.Sc. 72023


NameSurnameTitleE-MailPhone (030) 314-



Conference Presentations

  • 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
  • A. Barai, N. Boldt, M. Birkholz, Microalgae cell separation and concentration in a microfluidic channel under dielectrophoresis (DEP) effect, Comsol Conference, Cambridge, September 2019 
  • A. Henriksson, L. Kasper, C. Schipp, P. Neubauer, M. Birkholz, Biofunctionalization of a microring resonator via hydrosilylation followed by copper free click chemistry, EnFi 2019 – 12thEngineering of Functional Interfaces, KU Leuwen, July 2019 
  • J. Flügge, D. Höppe, M. Birkholz, Elektrische Pinzette – ein elektrisches Verfahren zur Zellmanipulation, Lange Nacht der Wissenschaften, TU Berlin, Juni 2019
  • V. Abt, F. Gringel, A. Hutari, P. Neubauer, M. Birkholz, Development of a microfluidic analysis system based on dielectrophoresis with integrated electrodes for analysis and sorting of microalgae during lipid production, 14. Kolloq. AK Prozessanalytik GdCh, Hannover, December 2018 
  • M. Lind, R. Mgeladse, F. Jamal, N. Grabbert, J. Wessel, H.D. Ngo, P. Neubauer, M. Birkholz, Comparison of Impedance and Permittivity Based Dielectric Sensors for Cell Density Measurements,19. Kolloq. Techn. Syst. Lebensw., Heiligenstadt, September 2018 
  • V. Abt, F. Gringel, P. Neubauer, M. Birkholz, Simulation assisted development of microfluidic system with integrated electrodes for dielectrophoresis based analysis and sorting of micro algae C.cohnii, 5th BioProScale Symposium, Berlin, March 2018 
  • Gringel F, Abt V, Neubauer P, Birkholz M, Numerical analysis of dielectrophoresis for separation of microalgae, DPG Spring Meeting 2018, Berlin
  • M. Birkholz, F. Jamal, J. Wessel, R. Scholz, P. Neubauer, Microelectronics for Biotechnology,Engineering and Life Symposium, Hannover, Oktober 2017
  • R. Mgeladse, F.I. Jamal, B. Burckhardt, P. Neubauer, M. Birkholz, D. Kissinger, J. Wessel,  Integration of Radio-Frequency Permittivity Sensors into Microwell Plates for Cell Concentration Measurements, 1st European Biosensor Symposium, Potsdam, March 2017


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

The lecture "Einführung in die Bioelektronik" takes place every summer semester at the TU Berlin. Biotechnologists are introduced to the basics of microelectronics, which is illustrated by application examples from biology and medicine such as membrane potential, ECG, neurostimulation, etc. In addition, exercises are held which include the solution of Internet-based tasks and the learning of important computer tools. The latter are trained in a weekly exercise group (e.g. CAD). At the end of the course the participants can suggest a bioelectronic system of their own choice or choose from the literature to redesign in a term paper using the methods learned and thus apply the techniques learned in their own project. → module description

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.