Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

MS in Chemical Engineering (M.S.C.H.)


Chemical Engineering

Degree Granting Department

Chemical and Biomedical Engineering

Major Professor

Anna Pyayt, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Robert Frisina Jr., Ph.D.

Committee Member

John Kuhn, Ph.D.


FDTD, Flow Cytometry, Lab on Chip, MEMS, Simulation, Single Cell Detection


Photonic crystals serve as powerful building blocks for the development of lab-on-chip devices. Currently they are used for a wide range of miniaturized optical components such as extremely compact waveguides to refractive-index based optical sensors. Here we propose a new technique for analyzing and characterizing cells through the design of a micro-flow cytometer using photonic crystals. While lab scale flow cytometers have been critical to many developments in cellular biology they are not portable, difficult to use and relatively expensive. By making a miniature sensor capable of replicating the same functionality as the large scale units with photonic crystals, we hope to produce a device that can be easily integrated into a lab-on-chip and inexpensively mass produced for use outside of the lab.

Using specialized FDTD software, the proposed technique has been studied, and multiple important flow cytometry functions have been established. As individual cells flow near the crystal surface, transmission of light through the photonic crystal is influenced accordingly. By analyzing the resulting changes in transmission, information such as cell counting and shape characterization have been demonstrated. Furthermore, correlations for simultaneously determining the size and refractive indices of cells has been shown by applying the statistical concepts of central moments.