Background

There is an enormous  demand for fast, continuous and affordable flow rate or gas/liquid composition measurements. By miniaturising sensors on a photonic chip, combined with a fast and accurate electronic data processing, these compact, fast and affordable machines are feasible.

The size of gas, liquid and biosensors market is enormous. 75% consists of microfluidic flow sensors in Point-of-Care instruments in Healthcare, pharmaceutical and life science market. The size of this market is US 17.4 (miljard) in 2024 at a 12% growth rate each year. Many international parties have shown their interest in gas quality measurement systems like ENGIE and Toyo Gas. For the developed cancer diagnostics technology this offers new possibilities in a market worth € 5 (miljard). The total European market for diagnostic testing for Bladder, lung, colon cancer and the follow-up diagnostic tool for ex patients is 8.500.000 tests per year.

In the SensorChip project the development of 3 gas, liquid and biosensors types are key. The developed sensors are widely applicable. Within 2 and a half year several sensors will be developed into go-to-market products on TRL Level 8-9 in 2023/2024.

Project definition

The main goal of the project is the development of several gas, liquid and biosensors. The sensors are an application of photonic chip technology developed by LioniX for the development of waveguides and circuits for the manipulation of light (photons). The waveguide technology is known as TriPleX™. LioniX has developed several micro-photonic building elements and techniques for several applications. These techniques are now on TRL level 7-9. The challenge in this project is the combination and adaptation of these to new sensors which cannot be achieved with other technologies.

The centre of the sensors is based on existing micro-photonic components. The way in which this technology is executed differs per application. To realize these sensors the photonic building elements need to be optimised for several different sensors. By working together sensor manufacturers can learn from each other, and LioniX, and share the cost of sensor development. The main issues within this consortium are the integration of photonic chips with micro-fluids, compatibility of processes with (bio) chemistry, scale up and production and system development.

It needs to be noted that the developed SensorChip will be applicable in more application areas than those mentioned above.

This project is an example of the development process synergy in which partners can learn from each other so development- and production cost can be reduces. The developed gas, liquid and biosensors will be almost ready for market introduction. (TRL level 7-8 in 2023/2024).

The integrated micro-optic sensors are:

  1. Coriolis flowmeter> Through integrated optical circuits readable micro-Coriolis flow meter with which can measure very small gas and liquid flows accurately for application in organs-on-a-chip, laboratory calibrations, hospital labs, etc.
  2. Gas sensing CH4-CO2> Continuous monitory of methane/nitrogen levels in bio gas. This is of utmost importance in monitoring the supplied biogas to the gas (network/infrastructure) and determine the value and payment.
  3. Detection of biomarkers for cancer diagnostics> A micro-optical sensor which can determine the presence of cancer biomarkers in bodily fluids. First the development will aim on a detection instrument for bladder cancer, which can be determined by urine analysis. Next this technique can also be applied to other cancer varieties by analysing blood samples of patients.

Project organization

Cooperation between several partners is key to contribute to photonic products go to market. To meet our goals and profit from our results there is a variety of expertise within the project consortium. Knowledge and skills between SMEs and knowledge institutions are being shared.

High Tech NL is the branch association of the Dutch high tech industry consisting of 200+ members, both companies (OEM, SME and startups) and knowledge institutes. High Tech NL delivers an important contribution to the photonic knowledge and industrial network in and outside NL. They can approach a large network for stimulation of new applications and innovations. These activities are known within “photonic Netherlands” as a “growth programme”. The aim is that knowledge and competence distribution will ascend to the individual projects to create even more synergy.

The SensorChip consortium exists of 9 partners, of which 5 SMEs and 2 research institutions. Partners are prominent players in their area of expertise and complement each other. A project like SensorChip in which existing technologies and knowledge is being valorised with new products demands expertise in the area of design, materials, production and characteristics of integrated photonic and electronic equipment and circuit, chip and product assembly, and of course, specific application areas for which these applications are being made. All the needed knowledge and skills are present in this consortium and it is therefore perfectly equipped to manage project activities.

 

Partners

LioniX International> Develops and commercializes on siliciumnitride (SiN) based waveguide technology (TriPlex) for a variety of applications and is leading in the photonic sector.


Bronkhorst High-Tech B.V.> Development, production and sales of state-of-the-art technology and prominent qualitatively solutions (products, services and knowledge) for accurately measuring and verification of liquids and gas flows.


Sensor Sense BV> Gas handling, accurate measuring of concentration with optical techniques, spectroscopy (as wel as laser, LEDs and broad band sources)


Qurin Diagnostics> Development of several high innovative diagnostic products in oncology.


Chilas> Development and production of semiconductor lasers based on several materials with high power in combination with integrated technology.


SurfiX B.V.> Knowledge and experience with bio chemical manipulation of “bald” sensor chips of LioniX to functional bio sensors.


PHIX> Start-up arising from a group of companies of which also Lionix International is part. PHIX has the ambition to be an assembly centre for advanced PICs for medium and high volume sensors within 5 years.


Radboud Universiteit> Spectroscopy analysis, detection schedules, use of different light sources, data analysis.


Universiteit Twente> Years of research in the area of micro Coriolis mass flow sensors. Experience in design and realisation of integrated optical waveguides and optical sensor systems.


High Tech NL> High Tech NL is committed to the collective interests of the sector, with a focus on long-term innovation and international collaboration. High Tech NL shares specific knowledge and each member participates in one or more of the four clusters focusing on: Robotics, Semiconductors, Life Sciences and Energy.


Bereschot> A consultancy company that supports High Tech NL with resolving complex issues and facilitates cooperation between companies, growth of ecosystems and goverment liaison.