CMOS Design for DNA Detection Using Ion-Sensitive Field Effect Transistors


Pantelis Georgiou, Imperial College London, UK:

Pantelis Georgiou currently holds the position of Reader at Imperial College London within the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering. He is the head of the Bio-inspired Metabolic Technology Laboratory in the Centre for Bio-Inspired Technology; a multi-disciplinary group that invents, develops and demonstrates advanced micro-devices to meet global challenges in biomedical science and healthcare. His research includes ultra-low power micro-electronics, bio-inspired circuits and systems, lab-on-chip technology and application of micro-electronic technology to create novel medical devices. One of his key research areas is new technologies for treatment of diabetes such as the artificial pancreas but also develops novel Lab-on-Chip technology with application in genomics and diagnostics targeted towards infectious disease and antimicrobial resistance (AMR), in addition to wearable technologies for rehabilitation of chronic conditions.

Dr. Georgiou graduated with a 1st Class Honours MEng Degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering in 2004 and Ph.D. degree in 2008 both from Imperial College London. He then joined the Institute of Biomedical Engineering as Research Associate until 2010, when he was appointed Head of the Bio-inspired Metabolic Technology Laboratory. In 2011, he joined the Department of Electrical & Electronic Engineering, where he currently holds an academic faculty position. He conducted pioneering work on the silicon beta cell and is now leading the project forward to the development of the first bio-inspired artificial pancreas for treatment of Type I diabetes. In addition to this, he made significant contributions to the development of integrated chemical-sensing systems in CMOS. He has pioneered the development of the Ion-Sensitive Field Effect Transistor, an integrated pH sensor which is currently being used in next generation DNA sequencing machines, demonstrating for the first time its use in low-power weak-inversion, and its capability in a multimodal sensing array for Lab-on-Chip applications. Dr. Georgiou is a senior member of the IEEE and IET and serves on the BioCAS and Sensory Systems technical committees of the IEEE CAS Society. He is an associate editor of the IEEE Sensors and TBioCAS journals. He is also the CAS representative on the IEEE sensors council. In 2013, he was awarded the IET Mike Sergeant Achievement Medal for his outstanding contributions to engineering and development of the bio-inspired artificial pancreas.


In the last decade, we have seen application of CMOS technology in healthcare providing novel solutions for early detection, diagnosis and therapy of disease. Specifically, in the area of DNA sensing and full genome sequencing, whereby the implementation of chemical sensors called Ion-Sensitive Field Effect Transistors (ISFETs) directly in CMOS, has enabled the design of large-scale arrays of millions of sensors which can conduct in-parallel detection of DNA. Furthermore the scaling of CMOS with Moore’s law and the integration capability with microfluidics has enabled commercial efforts to make full genome sequencing affordable.

In this tutorial, I will first present the fundamentals and physical properties of DNA and how it can be detected using different modalities through the use of CMOS technology. I will then walk the audience through the design of ISFET sensors and instrumentation in CMOS working towards implementing large scale arrays which are currently being used in commercial systems. By the end of the tutorial the audience will have a good understanding of DNA and how it may be sensed in CMOS in addition to the challenges and solutions to be able to design large scale ISFET arrays for DNA detection systems.