Anitoa Systems, a Palo Alto, California (US) start-up in 2011, announced the availability of its first 3e-6 lux low-light complementary metal-oxide semiconductor (CMOS) bio-optical sensor and solution kit for portable medical and scientific instruments. Anitoa’s single-chip CMOS bio-optical sensor is capable of detecting 3e-6 (or 3×10-6) lux narrow-band light at 550 nanometres (nm) with a 20nm bandwidth and more than a 13 decibel (dB) signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) in the operating temperature between -25°C to +85°C consuming only 30 milliwatts (mW).
Anitoa’s low-light CMOS bio-optical sensor realises portable medical or scientific instruments. An example of this is a field-portable Nucleic Acid Test (NAT) system to identify infectious pathogens. This CMOS bio-optical sensor is a very small (5 millimetres [mm] × 5mm) and ultra-sensitive image sensor integrated circuit (IC) manufactured with mature semiconductor technology and enhanced by Anitoa’s intelligent dark-current management algorithm. Capable of the 3e-6 lux detection threshold, this small size CMOS bio-optical sensor will replace the bulky and expensive Photon Multiplier Tubes (PMTs) and cooled charge-coupled devices (CCDs) used today in molecular diagnostic instruments, such as NAT (e.g., qPCR) and protein/antibody analysis (e.g., ELIZA) equipment. These instruments utilise a fluorescence or chemi-luminescence signalling principle for molecular sensing to achieve sensitivity and specificity. Applying the same sensing principle, Anitoa’s CMOS bio-optical sensor enables a new breed of portable molecular diagnostic systems that can be deployed in the field and allow physicians to respond in a timely manner to potential epidemic or even pandemic diseases globally by prescribing highly effective treatments and targeted antibiotics or anti-viral drugs.
The health-care community has long realised the urgent need of a globally affordable and field-deployable molecular diagnostics solution to rapidly and accurately identify infectious pathogens. Case in point, the recent Ebola outbreak has created global fear and demand for such a diagnostic device.
Anitoa’s CMOS bio-optical sensor enables the development of affordable, portable and highly accurate medical devices and scientific instruments, according to the company. The use of the CMOS bio-optical sensor manufactured with mature semiconductor technologies make the solution affordable and robust, suitable for deployment in a variety of low resource settings, such as in developing countries. Combining the small size of Anitoa’s bio-optical sensor with the advancement of the micro-fluidic technology, Anitoa’s solution can help to achieve miniature molecular diagnostic systems with features and versatility comparable to much larger diagnostic systems in today’s labs. This, in turn, will help the broad adoption of advanced NAT (i.e., DNA, RNA) or protein (i.e., antibody) testing to allow precise identification of the specific type of virus or bacteria behind a particular infectious disease.
Anitoa’s single-chip CMOS bio-optical sensor is available in the form of a Solution Kit for customer evaluation and early adoption. This Solution Kit includes Anitoa’s ULS 24 CMOS bio-optical sensor IC, an interface board and the integrated intelligent dark-current management algorithm. This single-chip solution kit can readily interface with a PC or tablet device via USB or Bluetooth, according to the company. Application notes of using ULS24 for DNA quantification and qPCR are also available from Anitoa’s website. Volume production of Anitoa’s ULS24 CMOS bio-optical sensor kit is estimated to be in the second quarter of 2015.
Anitoa’s solution enables a variety of compact, highly accurate medical and scientific instruments that are traditionally implemented with bulky, expensive PMTs and cooled CCDs. When applied to field portable molecular diagnostic systems, Anitoa’s solution allows physicians and healthcare professionals to obtain diagnostic results at point-of-care in a matter of 10s of minutes instead of days or weeks from a centralised lab. Thus, they can respond much more quickly with life-saving treatments, such as targeted antibiotics, and slow down the spread of drug-resistant bacteria and viruses.