Researchers develop disposable silicon photonics biosensor chips

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A set of innovative disposable silicon photonics biosensor chips have been developed that can be used in diagnostic and molecular detection equipment.

Teams from nanoelectronics research centre, imec and molecular testing specialist, Genalyte, have modified the former organisation's silicon photonic waveguide devices. The resultant chips are said to allow for high levels of multiplexed biosensing due to the high integration of Si photonics. The Si photonics biosensor chips were developed at imec as part of its silicon photonics CMORE service. A bio compatible passivation technology was developed on 200mm waferscale, the chips were tested in the field and proven to meet Genalyte's functional requirements with 'high yields'. The chips contain up to 128 proprietary ring resonator sensors coated by Genalyte with application specific chemistry to create very sensitive molecular detection capability. According to imec, on chip grating couplers are used to couple the infrared light from and to Genalyte's diagnostic equipment. Imec's silicon photonics platform allows miniaturisation of complex photonic functions on a single chip and a dense integration of photonics and electronics. The ability to use standard microelectronic cmos manufacturing facilities and processes to realise optical functions makes silicon photonics commercially attractive due to the potential to lower manufacturing costs and increase volume production. According to imec, key to this 'high yield' is the high quality and reproducibility of the photonic waveguides and devices with features measuring 100 to 500nm requiring nm scale accuracy.