2024 Nanotechnology Engineering Capstone Designs


The Nanotechnology Engineering program acknowledges that much of our work takes place on the traditional territory of the Neutral, Anishinaabeg and Haudenosaunee peoples. Our main campus is situated on the Haldimand Tract, the land granted to the Six Nations that includes six miles on each side of the Grand River. Our active work toward reconciliation takes place across our campuses through research, learning, teaching, and community building, and is co-ordinated within the Office of Indigenous Relations.




Ting Tsui

Ting Tsui
Professor and Program Director

The Capstone Design project is the culmination of a five-year journey for our dedicated
undergraduate students to the commitment to engineering excellence. Students in the
Nanotechnology Engineering Program develop expertise in many disciplines through rigorous
coursework and laboratory training in the areas of chemistry, chemical engineering, electrical
engineering, physics, biology, and materials.

We would like to welcome you to this year’s Nanotechnology Engineering Program Capstone Design project symposium. This year’s symposium showcases the prototypes from our 24 design teams. They are composed of innovative engineering designs in hydrogel wound dressings, electrical
biosensors, developing next-generation batteries, capturing microplastics in the environment,
creating sustainable single-use plastics, and more.

These novel devices will help to combat climate change, enhance personal health care, advance
the electrification of our society, and improve productivity. We take immense pride in the
accomplishments of our students, who adeptly apply their knowledge and experience to conquer
the final challenges of their engineering education.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank those who have contributed to the success of the
Capstone Design program through mentorship and/or sponsorship.


Signature Ting Tsui

Ting Tsui
Professor and Program Director tttsui@uwaterloo.ca
Nanotechnology Engineering Program



Altregen: Self-Healing Edible Produce Coating

1. Altregen: Self-Healing Edible Produce Coating

Nadine Arar, Stephen Ma-Pan, Ryan Rezai, Qindii Shafi

Food preservation has been a concern of human societies since antiquity. Yet developments in food preservation have stagnated in the face of a rising demand for them. Altregen is an edible food coating that consists of self-healing alternating layers on top of a nano-enhanced conventional polymer substrate. The synergy of these components results in the final coating being able to heal after experiencing physical damage, without compromising on water or oxygen permeability.

A+ Blood Typing

2. A+ Blood Typing

Roxana Chabok, Isabella Conti, Meghan Pell, Andrea Pesse Roman, Emma Proud

Approximately half of Canadians will either require, or have a connection to someone who will require, a blood transfusion in their lifetime. However, only 4% of Canadians donate, resulting in a shortage of blood. Since many do not know their blood type, this creates a reliance on O- blood. To stunt the consumption of Canada's low O- supply, we have developed a rapid blood typing device for emergency responders that utilizes optical immunosensing and requires minimal blood volume to determine a patient's blood type.

Depression Recognition Empowered by Advanced Molecularly Imprinted Polymers (DREAM) Sensors

3. Depression Recognition Empowered by Advanced Molecularly Imprinted Polymers (DREAM) Sensors

Oliver Aramini, Owen Carruthers, Alexander Creaghan, Braeden MacDougall

Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) affects 280 million people globally, introducing significant changes in a patient's quality of life. MDD is currently diagnosed by patient-physician interviews which are prone to biases and misdiagnosis. Using polymer films designed to trap and measure a depression-linked biomarker, DREAM Sensors provides a quantitative measurement to supplement diagnostic procedures. This information can provide mental health specialists the tools to assess the severity of the condition, as well as the ability to track a patient's response to treatment.


4. adZrb

Samuel Drekic, Adam Ehling, Gaston Lee, Joshua Pinto

The adZrb product revolutionizes wastewater treatment by combining 3D printing with advanced material science. It features a high surface area aerogel structure embedded with an electrochemically synthesized, zirconium-based Metal-Organic Framework (MOF), UIO-66, optimized for heavy metal removal. This innovative design significantly increases the efficiency of adsorption, providing a rapid, effective, and sustainable solution for purifying industrial and municipal wastewater. adZrb's unique approach not only promises enhanced performance in contaminant removal but also offers a cost-effective, environmentally friendly alternative to conventional methods.

Battery Winter Guardian

5. Battery Winter Guardian

Omar Elrefaei, Mobarak Mondal, Hetvin Prajapati, Mustafa Syed

Within the looming energy crisis, EVs provide a way for consumers to reduce their emissions and dependency on fossil fuels. Unfortunately, subarctic climates are troublesome for lithium-ion batteries, resulting in up to 30% capacity loss. We developed a wax-based insulation layer infused with carbon nanoparticles that aids in warming up the battery and retaining its warmth. We exploit the energy released when wax reaches its freezing point to keep the battery warm while the nanoparticles provide a mechanism to heat the system using resistive heating.


6. MicroSeize

Ryan Ellis, Helen Engelhardt, Alex Matos, Matthew Scarfo

In Canada, 89% of plastics end up in landfills or as litter, where they break down into microplastics, a concern for human, animal, and ecosystem health. Existing microplastic removal systems in wastewater treatment plants are only effective on microplastics larger than 20 um in size. MicroSeize aims to develop a scalable methodology to capture the microplastics that other methods leave behind using functionalized iron oxide nanoparticles which adsorb onto the plastics, allowing them to be trapped from the wastewater stream magnetically.

TESTbright - The Testosterone Test Kit that Lights Up

7. TESTbright - The Testosterone Test Kit that Lights Up

Caleb Johnston, Mihir Kakkar, Darsh Kanani, Dhruv Patel

As overall interest in fitness soars, testosterone monitoring has become more relevant than ever. Unfortunately for fitness enthusiasts, checking testosterone is not always accessible, quick, or private. TESTbright is a breakthrough kit designed to tackle these problems. It includes a pin prick needle for blood collection, a microfluidics device for precise blood component separation, a CLIA well for accurate testosterone measurement, and a web application for quick and private results. TESTbright makes testosterone monitoring effortless and accessible, revolutionizing personal health management in the fitness world.

SPARC - A Self-cleaning Photovoltaic Anti-Reflective Coating

8. SPARC - A Self-cleaning Photovoltaic Anti-Reflective Coating

Paula Huang, Rene Lam, Maggie Wong, Rachel Zhang

Solar energy is one of the fastest growing renewable energy sources. Nevertheless, solar panel efficiency is hindered by surface dust accumulation. Manual labour is the current method for contaminant removal; however, it is costly and time-consuming. Our solution, SPARC, is a self-cleaning photovoltaic anti-reflective coating made from alumina at a low cost and exceeds the current industry standard of light transmission on uncoated solar cells. With our scalable fabrication process and extended lifespan, the coating will remove impurities upon rainfall from solar cells everywhere.

Flexible Piezoelectric Supercapacitor for Powering Wearable GPS Devices

9. Flexible Piezoelectric Supercapacitor for Powering Wearable GPS Devices

Mark Carpenter, Nathaly Llanos, Darius Nguyen, Justin Wong

Alzheimer's disease is a leading cause of death in the United States. To address the challenge of unpredictable wandering of Alzheimer's patients, risking severe injury or going missing, we designed a flexible polymer-based piezoelectric supercapacitor which seamlessly integrates into insole wearable GPS devices for Alzheimer's patient tracking. Our design leverages the piezoelectric effect to harvest and store energy from natural movement, minimizing the need for external charging, ensuring uninterrupted support for caregivers and enhancing the safety of Alzheimer's patients.


10. PathoSense

Eve Boyer, Douglas Chang, Matthew Chin, Erin Oswald

Surgical site infections are responsible for up to $10 billion in US health care costs annually. Currently, physical examination is the primary diagnosis criteria for infection. This results in delayed treatments and increased complications. PathoSense is a non-invasive sensor utilizing a DNA hydrogel to detect the early biomarkers of infection while actively counterattacking bacterial growth by releasing antimicrobial agents. Our sensor provides healthcare professionals with an accurate tool to actively track the onset and progression of infection, and administer early, effective treatment. 


11. Ethersense

Juan Diego Castano Luna, Jason Nguyen, Maciek Pajak, Kevin Rao

Currently, there are no methods to non-intrusively measure the current flowing through automotive ethernet wires (PoDL standard) without compromising signal integrity. Ethersense is a compact and non-intrusive current sensing connector that wirelessly logs data into a remote server and microSD card. Our device takes advantage of a custom indium antimonide-based micro-hall sensor to sense a wide range of current values passing through the ethernet wires. It aims to aid R&D within the autonomous vehicle industry for Advanced Driver Assistance Systems which require rapid data transfers.

MedSens: Intrabody Force Sensing Advancement for Medical Probing

12. MedSens: Intrabody Force Sensing Advancement for Medical Probing

William Kim, Andres Miranda, Andrei Perez, Brian Periku, Yunheng Zou

Revolutionizing precision in intrabody tissue probing - our design seamlessly integrates advanced force-sensing into endoscopic sheaths. Force control in surgery is crucial, as even small, improper forces on tissue can lead to tissue damage. MedSens overcomes this limitation with cutting-edge thin-film force sensors in medical probes, ensuring unmatched accuracy, a sleek profile, and remarkable flexibility. Leveraging innovative UV-laser microfabrication techniques, we achieve cost-effective strain gauge customization. Real-time force quantification marks a pivotal advancement for safer and more precise medical procedures, reducing the risk of adverse events.

SensaLac: A DNA-Based Lactate Biosensor

13. SensaLac: A DNA-Based Lactate Biosensor

Sarah Bahnam, Mehal Kushalkar, Athulya Nambiar, Sofia Rizzo

Athletes, especially weight trainers, are susceptible to muscle injuries as a result of overtraining. A good indicator of muscle exertion is an increase in sweat lactate levels. Our DNA-based sensor uses a hydrogel patch to collect sweat and outputs lactate levels using a photodetector. The novelty of this sensor lies in its non-invasive and painless approach to lactate sensing. With its overarching objective to enhance fitness training plans, individuals can proactively adjust their regimen, mitigating the risk of overtraining and optimizing overall performance.


14. CompostaFoam

Ethan Crawford, Aldo Roblero, Hamza Shaikh-Deeb, Thomas Zinger

In a world shifting towards more sustainable options for single use plastics, the packaging industry is one area that is lagging behind. Products like Styrofoam have been the industry standard for over 65 years yet are not recyclable and take up a lot of room in landfills. Our product is a nanocomposite foam made from poly(lactic acid) (PLA), which is renewably made from fermented biomass and can be composted at its end of life, while still exhibiting a comparable performance to industrial Styrofoam.

Hera Analytics

15. Hera Analytics

Dea Gjini, Ria Goros, Aliya Sallam, Sarah Schneider

Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) and Luteinizing Hormone (LH) play key roles in the menstrual cycle, both peaking 24-48 hours before ovulation. Current reproductive hormone testing involves invasive blood sampling with long lab wait times or requires expensive commercial devices. Our point-of-care device offers a non-invasive, saliva-based alternative, using a polymer-coated test strip to accurately measure FSH and LH concentrations. Our design advances reproductive hormone sensing by offering women+ access to lab quality testing and data anytime.

Thermoelectrical Device for Renewable Power Generation

16. Thermoelectrical Device for Renewable Power Generation

Vid Sharda, Anish Chockalingam Shanmugam, Sarah Shakim, Vithurshan Umashanker

Our project introduces a cutting-edge Thermoelectric Generator (TEG) employing doped semiconductor material within a Toyota Corolla's exhaust system. This design efficiently captures wasted heat, addressing automotive energy inefficiency. The doped semiconductor material enhances conversion rates, maximizing electricity generation from heat. Our TEG offers sustainable on-the-go charging for phones and batteries while mitigating emissions. Its seamless integration into existing automotive infrastructure signifies practicality and environmental consciousness, marking a significant advancement in energy recovery systems for vehicles.

IntoxiSense: A Multiplex Lateral Flow Assay for THC and Ethanol Detection

17. IntoxiSense: A Multiplex Lateral Flow Assay for THC and Ethanol Detection

Justin Mehta, Avitej Singh, Jaskiran Virdy

Despite the growing legalization of marijuana and alcohol's prevalence in Canada, there is still no portable device which can detect THC and ethanol as per the government's driving regulations. Our project will function as a point-of-collection drug screening tool. IntoxiSense is a multiplex lateral flow assay designed to identify THC and ethanol in saliva. THC detection uses quantum dots functionalized with antibodies, while ethanol detection relies on a colorimetric chemical reaction. Our design enables rapid on-site detection of these analytes.

GeneDetek: An electrochemical biosensor for genetic mutation detection

18. GeneDetek: An electrochemical biosensor for genetic mutation detection

Karla Castro, Andrea Parra, Sara Thompson, Nube Torres

The rising prevalence of mental health issues in our modern world underscores the challenge of prescribing drugs where individual responses can widely differ. Research has indicated genetic mutations as a precursor to variable drug uptake, emphasizing the importance of obtaining such information for accurate diagnosis and treatment. Our proposed solution utilizes an electrochemical biosensor with a modular probe, enabling the identification of genetic information derived from saliva samples. This innovative approach promises enhanced diagnostic precision aligning with the emerging era of personalized mental health care.


19. GelRx

Mariah De Torres, Erin Grant-Allen, Annabelle Wicentowich, Alyna Wong

Despite the best efforts of medical professionals, surgical site infections and invasive wound infections are leading causes of death for post-operative and burn patients, respectively. GelRx is a multifunctional hydrogel bandage that aims to improve the health outcomes of such patients. The bandage utilizes an integrated colorimetric pH sensor to signal infection to healthcare providers and addresses infection through antibacterial zinc oxide nanoparticles. The GelRx hydrogel inherently supports the healing of damaged tissue by preventing moisture from escaping, absorbing wound exudate, and reducing bacterial contact.

eNargy: Sustainable Power Storage for Everyday Life

20. eNargy: Sustainable Power Storage for Everyday Life

David Corriveau, Lydia Hurst, Weixuan Li, Kenny Chun Man Miu

With the growing demand for sustainable energy solutions, sodium-ion batteries offer a promising alternative to lithium-ion batteries. Lithium-ion batteries struggle with recyclability and are created using expensive, limited resources. Sodium is abundant, environmentally friendly, and easily recyclable. eNargy's sodium-ion battery uses an "anode-free" design to maximize its energy density. It's an affordable and competitive choice to reduce the environmental harm of everyday devices.

Microscopic Analog Signal Processing

21. Microscopic Analog Signal Processing

Daniel Holmes, Eun Rho, Naim Suleman

Digital computers have inherent limitations in precision which lead to inaccuracies when processing analog signals. We propose a novel Micro-Electro-Mechanical-Systems (MEMS) based time-to-frequency-domain device to eliminate digitization in analog signal processing. This microscopic device performs an electromechanical time-to-frequency-domain signal transform by harnessing the resonant frequency response characteristics of MEMS structures. The time-to-frequency-domain device targets applications in fully or partially analog computing, security, frequency-shift sensors, on-device signal processing, and other high-sensitivity electronics.


22. ImmunoScope

Maria Ibrahim, Serena Surani, Adib Saleh

2% of the world's population is immunocompromised, these individuals require consistent monitoring of their immune system through a white blood cell count. However, current methods of counting white blood cells require expensive, heavy and immobile equipment which must be performed by trained personnel. With ImmunoScope,  a hand-held microfluidic device, allows for a white blood cell count within 5 minutes. ImmunoScope can be utilized in areas with struggling medical infrastructure as well as doctors without borders, for a quick and effective count on the go.

NanoPure: Solar-Powered Nanoparticles for Sustainable Water Purification

23. NanoPure: Solar-Powered Nanoparticles for Sustainable Water Purification

Ajay Dass, Rayyan Hussain, Jace Menezes, Rhydham Patel, Bassel Shehadeh

Our device utilizes nanoparticles to convert non-potable water from rivers, lakes, and oceans into drinkable water. When exposed to sunlight, these nanoparticles release intense bursts of heat, evaporating water at the nanoscale. The water vapor, free from pathogens and contaminants, is then condensed in a separate tank. This solar-powered process eliminates the need for energy costs associated with water heating, providing a sustainable method for producing potable water from sunlight alone.

Nitinol and Impact Detection in Protective Neck Braces

24. Nitinol and Impact Detection in Protective Neck Braces

Jan Bednar, Brendan Hu, Jaming Zhao

Neck braces are a leading option when considering the prevention of cervical injuries in athletes. The design project aims to include an additional layer of protection in a team-designed brace by introducing an impact detection and a nitinol wire system that activates upon collision, providing support when required and remaining flexible during normal use.





Eihab Abdel-Rahman 
Marc Aucoin 
Brian Dixon 
Michael Fowler 
Ahmad Ghavami 
Milad Kamkar 
Juewen Liu 
Vivek Maheshwari 
Tizazu Mekonnen 
Sushanta Mitra 
Patricia Nieva 
Peng Peng 
Michael Pope 
Mahla Poudineh 
Elisabeth Prince 
Roderick Slavcev 
Shirley Tang 
Ting Tsui 
Zbig Wasilewski 
Aiping Yu 


Hany Aziz 
Dayan Ban 


Baylis Medical 
Centre for Advanced Materials Joining (CAMJ) 
Engineer of the Future Fund  
Ekidna Sensing Inc.  
Forcen Inc. 
Sandford Fleming Foundation (SFF) 


Wendy Gauthier 
Ahmad Ghavami 
Nicola (Niki) Kelly 
John Saad 
Bahareh Sadeghimakki 
Howard Siu 
Yael Zilberman-Simakov 

Many thanks to all of the program’s professional, technical and administrative staff for your support throughout the students’ 2024 Capstone Design experience. 



For more information about Nanotechnology Engineering design projects or to inquire about joining us in future design projects, please contact:

Hany Aziz
519-888-4567,ext. 36848


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