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Process Analytical Technologies

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

Process Analytical Technologies today

Bioprocessing uses living cells or their components for the discovery, development and production of drugs, foods, beverages, ... It’s a complex process flow that needs to be monitored at every step, both upstream and downstream.

Process Analytical Technologies (PAT) ensure that:

  • growth conditions are perfectly tailored to the cell’s needs
  • there are no contaminants in the end-product
  • the product is safe to use and complies with all regulations

Today, process analytical technologies mainly focus on time-consuming tests, either on-site or in a specialized off-site lab. But that’s about to change.

Process Analytical Technologies in the age of Industry 4.0

Chip technology has the potential to shift the focus of PAT towards online and inline testing. Semiconductor technology will then allow you to:

  • shrink lab functionalities into small lab-on-chips which you could even integrate into the bioreactors or the process flow
  • integrate different sensing modalities (e.g. optical, acoustic, electrical) onto a single chip with a minimal footprint
  • create arrays of sensors for multiplex measurements
  • integrate fluidics for sample delivery
  • explore new possibilities for sensor calibration and continuous operation

Imec has developed a series of technology platforms that could be used at different stages of the bioprocess: a PCR chip, a lens-free camera, an ion sensor, and a mini Raman spectrometer.

Our goal is to further develop these technologies into tailored solutions that bring the concept of Industry 4.0 to the field of bioprocessing.

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