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Life sciences

As a pioneer in nanoelectronics, imec brings the power of chip technology to the world of healthcare.

The value of chip technology for life sciences

Research and new discoveries in life sciences and biotech have been advancing rapidly, offering solutions with the potential to shape the future of healthcare. Numerous start-ups and existing companies are exploring new methodologies and are poised to play a crucial role in the future.

These new methods pose increasing demands on instrumentation. They require extremely high sensitivity (down to the level of single-molecule interaction to analyze DNA and gene expression), single-cell manipulation, massive parallelization, miniaturization, and more complex implantable devices.

Silicon chip technology will bring value to your products through:

  • miniaturization and reduced complexity of optics, fluidics and electronics
  • integration of complete workflows, resulting in simplified assay testing, reduced human error and improved compliance
  • unparalleled precision and reproducibility
  • excellent optical, thermal and chemical material properties
  • standard, widely available CMOS-based chip manufacturing toolsets, enabling a mature supply chain
  • massive parallelization, allowing extreme speed and accuracy
  • microfluidics integration, resulting in small sample volumes, reduced reagent costs and higher analysis speeds
  • nanotechnology capabilities enabling molecular interaction
  • competitive prices in high-volume manufacturing, enabling disposable solutions

Why imec for life science technologies?

Imec leverages its expertise in chip design and technology to develop innovative tools for life sciences, pharma R&D, clinical diagnostics, therapeutics and surgery, biopharma production and analytical biochemistry industries.

We combine:

  • extensive chip processing facilities, including a 200-mm and 300-mm cleanroom
  • a state-of-the-art bio-lab infrastructure for surface and bioassay characterization, biosensor set-ups, DNA research, ...
  • world-renowned expertise in chip technology, MEMS, bioelectronics, sensors, photonics, imagers, microfluidics, biosciences and high-performance computing

We work with strong, multidisciplinary teams of world-class scientists. That makes us the ideal development and manufacturing partner for your custom smart biochip solutions, from early R&D, design and prototyping to volume manufacturing.

We help you to bring your innovative product ideas to life.

Technology platforms

Coronavirus breath sampler

An easy way to determine contagiousness for COVID-19.

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Nanopore technology

The driver behind sequencing 4.0.

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Detecting more than 100,000 biomarkers in less than 5 minutes.

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PCR on chip

Accelerated PCR-based tests on silicon in minutes.

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High-throughput cytometry and cell sorting (FACS)

Sort up to 30 million cells per minute on one cm2.

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A whole lab in one cm2.

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Micro-electrode arrays

For high throughput, multi-modal cell interfacing.

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Neural probes

The new golden standard in neuroscience.

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Smart implantable devices

Minimally invasive implants for extremely accurate stimulation of nerves.

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Lens-free imaging

Continuously monitoring of life processes without disturbing them.

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DNA sequence analysis software

Streamline your genomic research with elPrep.

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Application domains


Pushing the boundaries of assay performance.

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Genomics and sequencing 4.0

Exploiting the power of Silicon nanotechnology in genomics.

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Cell and gene therapy

Silicon paving the way for cell and gene therapies.

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Raising the golden standard for neuroscience, discovery and electroceuticals.

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Medical imaging

Advanced imaging technology for enhanced and compact medical-grade imaging.

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Smart medical devices

Insertible, digestable and implantable medical devices.

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Process Analytical Technologies

Use chip technology to shift to fast and accurate online and inline testing.

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Work with us

Today, imec is the world’s number one player in world-class product-minded R&D, prototyping and production of silicon and nanotechnology for life sciences and healthcare. We work with world-class companies, from ambitious start-ups to established industry leaders, who strive to bring new technologies to healthcare and life sciences.

  • Contract R&D from early concept all the way to a qualified product.
  • Prototyping and manufacturing

Strategic Research Initiatives:

  • Exascience life lab focuses on providing software solutions for data-intensive and high-performance computing problems, primarily in life sciences.
  • Neuro-Electronics Research Flanders (NERF) is a collaborative academic research initiative launched by imec, VIB and KU Leuven that combines molecular, cellular and viral biology, genetics, microscopy, electrophysiology and behavioral studies, with the ultimate goal of gaining a thorough understanding of brain functionality.
  • Mission Lucidity combines the biomedical, clinical and technological expertise of its founding partners  - KU Leuven, UZ Leuven, VIB and imec – to accelerate medical discovery towards a future without dementia. 

Spin offs:

  • miDIAGNOSTICS, a unique life sciences venture set-up by imec and Johns Hopkins University, builds the lab test of the future: a silicon-based nanofluidic processor embedded in a low-cost test card.
  • Indigo develops the next-generation Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) systems that eliminate the need to wear anything on the body.
  • bioSensource aims to revolutionize drug discovery through electronics-based measurement devices and data analysis software.
  • Trinean (acquired by Unchained Labs) developed a system that can measure up to 96 high concentration protein samples in 5 minutes.
  • Epilog brings advanced EEG diagnostic technology to clinical practice – as a service.
  • Spectricity develops low-cost, miniaturized, integrated optical spectral sensing solutions for biomedical and health applications, agriculture, food analysis, and consumer markets.
  • Pulsify Medical, a joint imec and KU Leuven spin-off, focuses on the development of wearable ultrasound patches.

ANSYS Academic Program Partner

Imec is an ANSYS academic program partner.


At imec bright people build a bright future.

You could be one of these builders. Whether you are an engineer or an operator, a consultant or PhD student, we need a versatile group of people to help us create positive change.

Join the forward thinkers

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