Unique Prototyping Platform Integrates Microelectronics and Fluid Handling

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Numerous microfluidic post-processing activities enable customers with limited prior chip creating expertise to access required services

To provide an improved series of solutions that support the implementation of microfluidic structures directly on to CMOS dies, X-FAB Silicon Foundries SE has taken steps to help users better address commercial opportunities arising that relate to lab-on-a-chip, DNA sequencing and synthesis, rare cell sorting, medical implants, pharmaceutical research, drug administering, food safety testing and many other applications.

Access to all the key elements required for developing chip-based microfluidic subsystems will be provided – allowing quicker prototyping and start full-scale production. By having numerous elements bundled together, it will no longer be necessary for customers to work with many different vendors, avoiding any integration issues that generally come with complex multi-vendor projects.

Suited For High SNR

Leveraging X-FAB’s XH035 350nm high-voltage analogue/mixed-signal CMOS process, which is optimised for applications requiring high signal-to-noise ratios, the company can carry out numerous microfluidic post-processing activities with the use of multi-level mask (MLM) techniques to keep down the overall prototyping costs.

Customers will be able to benefit from the various standard process blocks that have been developed at X-FAB and are proven in silicon. Available process options include:

  • Initial preparation of the CMOS wafer for microfluidic integration, through planarized passivation along with through passivation vias.
  • The attaching of noble metal electrodes (either gold or platinum-based) to act as interfaces for the fluidic samples. 
  • The adding of a dry film resist top layer (into which microfluidic channels can be scored) with an optional glass cap wafer

To provide further assistance, the design house, testing operations and full turnkey suppliers in the X-Chain partner network can also be engaged with. This means that customers with limited prior expertise in creating a custom chip can always gain access to the services they need. 

“Microfluidics represents a highly challenging application-specific market, requiring fully optimised custom solutions and considerable investment,” Oliver Foellmer, Product Marketing Manager at X-FAB explains. “Customers need to be able to get comprehensive prototyping support from a single source. Thanks to new microfluidics prototyping platform, we are helping to accelerate development cycles and lower the financial thresholds, so that customers can embark on innovative silicon-based microfluidic projects regardless of their size or capabilities,” he concludes.

Customers can immediately gain access to X-FAB’s new microfluidics prototyping platform, with the initial prototyping run being scheduled for early Q1 2021. 


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