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Edmund Cartwright House, 4 Robert Robinson Avenue
Oxford Science Park, Oxford, OX4 4GA, UK

Tel: +44 (0)845 034 7900 | Fax: +44 (0)845 034 7901

Cambridge location
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Suite 4, The Mansion, Chesterford Research Park
Little Chesterford, Essex, CB10 1XL, UK

Tel: +44 (0)845 034 7900 | Fax: +44 (0)845 034 7901

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  • Technology
    • Sensor chip
    • ASIC
Sensor chip

Using microchip fabrication techniques, Oxford Nanopore has developed devices that enable highly scalable arrays of nanopores to be used for sensing at the single molecule level. These utilise a sensor array chip that consists of a number of microwells, each of which contains its own electrode. Via the Application-Specific Integrated Circuits (ASICs), each microwell electrode is connected to a common counter electrode positioned inside the flow cell, that is constructed over the top of the microwell array. The sensor chips are stored dry, but on starting the experiment, the flow cell is automatically exposed to the relevant electrophysiological buffer, and other fluids required to create nanopores in bilayers under experimental conditions. The measurement circuitry in the accompanying ASICs allow each step in the process to be monitored for quality control and selection of active nanopores.

Once the set-up process is completed and experimental analysis begins, the nanopore array is fully functional for as long as the user wishes to conduct their experiment. As the experiment progresses, each channel on the sensor chip streams experimental data in real time. In the case of DNA sequencing this means that full length reads are processed individually in real time, and as a read is completed a new DNA strand is acquired and starts to process. Real-time data acquisition and analysis means that users can monitor the results of their experiment as it progresses and can stop analysing the sample when enough data has been collected to answer their experimental question.

Silicone wafer containing numerous sensor chips manufactured in standard format,
close-up view on right