Imec and Genalyte have developed and produced a set of disposable silicon photonics biosensor chips for use in diagnostic and molecular detection equipment. The chips combine standard silicon photonic waveguide technology with bio-compatible modifications and were manufactured using standard microelectronic CMOS fabrication technology. The chips have been tested in the field and proven to meet the functional requirements with high yield.
The high integration level of silicon photonics on the chips enables extensive multiplexed biosensing. Each chip can contain up to 128 ring resonator sensors coated with application-specific chemicals to provide very sensitive molecular detection capability. The ability to use standard microelectronic CMOS fabrication facilities and processes to implement optical functions makes silicon photonics very attractive from a commercial perspective. The high quality and reproducibility of photonic waveguides and devices for features measuring 100 to 500 nm and requiring nanometer accuracy are the key to high yield.