MSc thesis project proposal

Non-invasive Detection of Bilirubin (Jaundice)

Aim of the project Jaundice is a worldwide problem. In remote African areas, present testing is too expensive and slow, leaving jaundice undetected until very serious health problems occur or it is too late. In the case of neonatal jaundice it may lead to irreversible brain damage (kernicterus). This project aims to address this, by developing low-cost, non-invasive systems which give direct results. Using optical measurements through tissue, changes in absorption can indicate the level of bilirubin, allowing direct low-cost measurements.


Project description The project will use the changes in optical properties of the skin with increasing bilirubin level. The optical signals need to penetrate deep enough to measure the bilirubin concentration in the blood and flesh. The main effect is seen around blue light (350nm), but other wavelengths give additional information. An important part of the research will be how to compensate for the effects of the patient’s skin tissue (age or colour). Ultimately, the new sensing system needs to be miniaturized into a handheld system, and one should be able to take the final product to remote locations and be operated by non-specialist staff.


Main challenges of the project are: Research on the different methods for non-invasive detection of bilirubin. Spectral measurements using different light sources, detectors and optical filters. Building a handheld prototype that can be used by our partners for field tests on patients

Contact Ger de Graaf

Electronic Instrumentation Group

Department of Microelectronics

Last modified: 2016-10-04