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Sequencing 4.0 and genomics

Exploiting the power of silicon nanoelectronics

The challenge: 10 dollar per genome

In the past 20 years, the sequencing community has succeeded in reducing the cost per genome by a million-fold – from 100,000,000 to 1,000 dollar per genome. Today, the ambitious goal is to further reduce this to 10 dollar per genome.

For genomic medicine, genetic testing will make its way from the lab to the patient’s bedside, with a more compact form factor, and with results in real-time or within a few hours. Deep sequencing tools on the other hand, will enable the search for rare sequences, cells, or infectious agents in a sample. Innovations in this area focus on an increased throughput, lower cost and higher accuracy. Finally, for advanced research, new tools will be developed to study e.g. mosaicism, which is the genomic variation among cells within an individual. 

Silicon nanofabrication technology can help in reaching all these goals: reduce the cost and size of genomics equipment while increasing throughput and enabling long-read sequencing, ultimately improving the accuracy of genome assembly.

Watch the talk by imec expert Liesbet Lagae on how chip technology enables next-generation-sequencing, new data storage models and more.

How silicon technology can help transform sequencing and genomics

Imec is an ideal partner to help you exploit the power of silicon technology in your genomics application. Imec’s state-of-the-art 200-mm and 300-mm chip manufacturing fabs are the perfect environment for developing novel sequencing chips that will be at the core of future sequencing solutions. 

Imec has a whole set of expertise in house, to innovate the whole workflow: sample preparation, DNA reading and data analysis. Furthermore, this allows for cross-layer optimization, a concept known in the semiconductor industry to gain orders of magnitude in performance, cost and size.

Read this in-depth article on how microfluidics accelerates DNA-analysis.

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Some examples of our expertise:

  • smart precision fluidics
  • cell and droplet sorter devices
  • (arrays of) nanopore, nanochannel, nanogap and nanowell structures
  • Novel sensor concepts such as nanopore FETs
  • Specialty electrodes
  • Integrated photonics
  • advanced transistor architectures such as FinFETs
  • multi-electrode chips for spatial omics
  • CMOS TDI:  a game changer in high-fidelity imaging​
  • nano-imprint lithography
  • modelling to understand device improvements​
  • custom ASICs for high-throughput sensor readout, focussing on low power, high signal to noise ratio,  high speed,...
  • advanced packaging techniques such as fan-out wafer-level packaging
  • extensive integration expertise, to combine silicon electronics with microfluidic, electrodes, optical and nanophotonic structures
  • machine learning and artificial intelligence for more efficient base calling, genome mapping and privacy-preserving population genomics.

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