US 20060040380 A1
A body 300 having a cavity 310 for mounting a substrate 120 fabricated with probe sequences at known locations according to the methods disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,143,854 and PCT WO 92/10092 or others, is provided. The cavity includes inlets 350 and 360 for introducing selected fluids into the cavity to contact the probes. Accordingly, a commercially feasible device for use in high throughput assay systems is provided.
93. A method of aligning an array hybridization apparatus comprising: (a) providing a first substrate, second substrate and at least 2 standoffs; and (b) contacting the first substrate to the standoff to align the array hybridization apparatus.
94. A method of making an array hybridization apparatus with a standoff for alignment, comprising: (a) providing a first substrate opposite a second substrate; (b) interposing a standoff between a first substrate and a second substrate; (c) contacting the first substrate and second substrate to the standoff.
95. A method of making an array hybridization apparatus for aligning a gasket, comprising: (a) providing a first substrate; (b) attaching at least two standoffs to the first substrate; (c) using the standoff to align at least one gasket on the first substrate using the standoff and the gasket.
This application is a continuation of U.S. application Ser. No. 10/229,759, filed on Aug. 28, 2002, which is a continuation of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/046,623, filed Jan. 14, 2002, now U.S. Pat. No. 6,551,817, which is a continuation of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/907,196, filed Jul. 17, 2001, now U.S. Pat. No. 6,399,365, which is a continuation of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/302,052, filed Apr. 29, 1999, now U.S. Pat. No. 6,287,850, which is a continuation of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 08/485,452, filed Jun. 7, 1995, now U.S. Pat. No. 5,945,334, which is continuation-in-part U.S. patent application Ser. No. 08/255,682, filed Jun. 8, 1994, now U.S. Pat. No. 6,140,044. Each of these applications is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety for all purposes.
The present inventions relate to the fabrication and placement of materials at known locations on a substrate. In particular, one embodiment of the invention provides a method and associated apparatus for packaging a substrate having diverse sequences at known locations on its surface.
Techniques for forming sequences on a substrate are known. For example, the sequences may be formed according to the pioneering techniques disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,143,854 (Pirrung et al.), PCT WO 92/10092, or U.S. application Ser. No. 08/249,188, now U.S. Pat. No. 5,571,639, incorporated herein by reference for all purposes. The prepared substrates will have a wide range of applications. For example, the substrates may be used for understanding the structure-activity relationship between different materials or determining the sequence of an unknown material. The sequence of such unknown material may be determined by, for example, a process known as sequencing by hybridization. In one method of sequencing by hybridization, a sequences of diverse materials are formed at known locations on the surface of a substrate. A solution containing one or more targets to be sequenced is applied to the surface of the substrate. The targets will bind or hybridize with only complementary sequences on the substrate.
The locations at which hybridization occurs can be detected with appropriate detection systems by labeling the targets with a fluorescent dye, radioactive isotope, enzyme, or other marker. Exemplary systems are described in U.S. Pat. No. 5,143,854 (Pirrung et al.) and U.S. patent application Ser. No. 08/143,312, also incorporated herein by reference for all purposes. Information regarding target sequences can be extracted from the data obtained by such detection systems.
By combining various available technologies, such as photolithography and fabrication techniques, substantial progress has been made in the fabrication and placement of diverse materials on a substrate. For example, thousands of different sequences may be fabricated on a single substrate of about 1.28 cm2 in only a small fraction of the time required by conventional methods. Such improvements make these substrates practical for use in various applications, such as biomedical research, clinical diagnostics, and other industrial markets, as well as the emerging field of genomics, which focuses on determining the relationship between genetic sequences and human physiology.
As commercialization of such substrates becomes widespread, an economically feasible and high-throughput device and method for packaging the substrates are desired.
Methods and devices for packaging a substrate having an array of probes fabricated on its surface are disclosed. In some embodiments, a body containing a cavity is provided. A substrate having an array of probes is attached to the cavity using, for example, an adhesive. The body includes inlets that allow fluids into and through the cavity. A seal is provided for each inlet to retain the fluid within the cavity. An opening is formed below the cavity to receive a temperature controller for controlling the temperature in the cavity. By forming a sealed thermostatically controlled chamber in which fluids can easily be introduced, a practical medium for sequencing by hybridization is provided.
In other embodiments, the body is formed by acoustically welding two pieces together. The concept of assembling the body from two pieces is advantageous. For example, the various features of the package (i.e., the channels, sealing means, and orientation means) are formed without requiring complex machining or designing. Thus, the packages are produced at a relatively low cost.
In connection with one aspect of the invention, a method for making the chip package is disclosed. In particular, the method comprises the steps of first forming a plurality of probe arrays on a substrate and separating the substrate into a plurality of chips. Typically, each chip contains at least one probe array. A chip is then mated to a package having a reaction chamber with fluid inlets. When mated, the probe array is in fluid communication with the reaction chamber.
In a specific embodiment, the present invention provides an apparatus for packaging a substrate. The present apparatus includes a substrate having a first surface and a second surface. The first surface includes a probe array and the second surface is an outer periphery of the first surface. The present apparatus also includes a body having a mounting surface, an upper surface, and a cavity bounded by the mounting surface and the upper surface. The second surface is attached to the cavity and the first surface is within the cavity. A cover attached to the mounting surface for defining an upper boundary to the cavity is also included. The cavity includes a diffuser and a concentrator. The diffuser and the concentrator permit laminar fluid flow through the cavity.
A further understanding of the nature and advantages of the inventions herein may be realized by reference to the remaining portions of the specification and the attached drawings.
The following terms are intended to have the following general meanings as they are used herein:
The present invention provides economical and efficient packaging devices for a substrate having an array of probes fabricated thereon. The probe arrays may be fabricated according to the pioneering techniques disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,143,854 (Pirrung et al.), PCT WO 92/10092, or U.S. application Ser. No. 08/249,188 filed May 24, 1994, already incorporated herein by reference for all purposes. According to one aspect of the techniques described therein, a plurality of probe arrays are immobilized at known locations on a large substrate or wafer.
Surfaces on the solid wafer will usually, though not always, be composed of the same material as the wafer. Thus, the surface may be composed of any of a wide variety of materials, for example, polymers, plastics, resins, polysaccharides, silica or silica-based materials, carbon, metals, inorganic glasses, membranes, or any of the above-listed wafer materials.
Wafer 100 includes a plurality of marks 145 that are located in streets 150 (area adjacent to the probe arrays). Such marks may be used for aligning the masks during the probe fabrication process. In effect, the marks identify the location at which each array 110 is to be fabricated. The probe arrays may be formed in any geometric shape. In some embodiments, the shape of the array may be squared to minimize wasted wafer area. After the probe arrays have been fabricated, the wafer is separated into smaller units known as chips. The wafer, for example, may be about 5×5 inches on which 16 probe arrays, each occupying an area of about 12.8 cm2, are fabricated.
According to a specific embodiment, the chip contains an array of genetic probes, such as an array of diverse RNA or DNA probes. In some embodiments, the probe array will be designed to detect or study a genetic tendency, characteristic, or disease. For example, the probe array may be designed to detect or identify genetic diseases such as cystic fibrosis or certain cancers (such as P53 gene relevant to some cancers), as disclosed in U.S. patent application Ser. No. 08/143,312, already incorporated by reference.
According to one embodiment, the wafer is separated into a plurality of chips using a technique known as scribe and break.
In operation, a user places a wafer 100 on a frame 210 as illustrated in
According to one embodiment, wafer alignment is achieved in two steps. First, using the control panel 240, the user rotates stage 220. The stage is rotated until streets 150 are aligned with the cross hair 215 on the display, as illustrated in
Once the cutter is aligned, the user instructs the device to scribe the wafer. In some embodiments, various options are available to the user, such as scribe angle, scribe pressure, and scribe depth. These parameters will vary depending on the composition and/or thickness of the wafer. Preferably, the parameters are set to scribe and break the wafer without causing any damage thereto or penetrating through the frame. The device repeatedly scribes the wafer until all the streets in one axis have been scribed, which in one embodiment is repeated 5 times (a 4×4 matrix of probe arrays). The user then rotates the stage 90° to scribe the perpendicular streets.
Once the wafer has been scribed, the user instructs the device to break or separate the wafer into chips. Referring back to
III. Details of One Embodiment of the Invention
a. Chip Package
Cavity 310 is usually, though not always, located substantially at the center of surface 501. The cavity may have any conceivable size, shape, or orientation. Preferably, the cavity is slightly smaller than the surface area of the chip to be placed thereon and has a volume sufficient to perform hybridization. In one embodiment, the cavity may be about 0.58″ wide, 0.58″ long, and 0.2″ deep.
Cavity 310 may include inlets 350 and 360. Selected fluids are introduced into and out of the cavity via the inlets. In some embodiments, the inlets are located at opposite ends of the cavity. This configuration improves fluid circulation and regulation of bubble formation in the cavity. The bubbles agitate the fluid, increasing the hybridization rate between the targets and complementary probe sequences. In one embodiment, the inlets are located at the top and bottom end of the cavity when the package is oriented vertically such as at the opposite corners of the cavity. Locating the inlet at the highest and lowest positions in the cavity facilitates the removal of bubbles from the cavity.
Referring back to
Top casing 410 includes alignment holes 330 and 335. In some embodiments, holes 330 and 335 are different in size to ensure correct orientation of the package when mounted on an alignment table. Alternatively, the holes may have different shapes to achieve this objective. Optionally, the holes taper radially inward from surface 501 toward 502 to reduce the friction against alignment pins while still maintaining adequate contact to prevent slippage.
In some embodiments, certain portions 595 of internal surface 502 may be eliminated or cored without interfering with the structural integrity of the package when assembled. Coring the casing reduces the wall thickness, causing less heat to be retained during the injection molding process; potential shrinkage or warpage of the casing is significantly reduced. Also, coring decreases the time required to cool the casing during the manufacturing process. Thus, manufacturing efficiency is improved.
In one embodiment, the top casing and bottom casing are mated together using a technique known as acoustic or ultrasonic welding. Accordingly, “energy directors” 510 are provided. Energy directors are raised ridges or points, preferably v-shaped, that are used in an acoustic welding process. The energy directors are strategically located, for example, to seal the channels without interfering with other features of the package and to provide an adequate bond between the two casings. Alternatively, the casings may be mated together by screws, glue, clips, or other mating techniques.
According to some embodiments, the back surface 130 of chip 120 is at least flush or below the plane formed by surface 501 of casing 410. As a result, chip 120 is shielded by surface 501 from potential damage. This configuration also allows the packages to be easily stored with minimal storage area since the surfaces are substantially flat.
Optionally, the bottom of the cavity includes a light absorptive material, such as a glass filter or carbon dye, to prevent impinging light from being scattered or reflected during imaging by detection systems. This feature improves the signal-to-noise ratio of such systems by significantly reducing the potential imaging of undesired reflected light.
In some embodiments, opening 760 is spatially located at about the depression below the cavity. The opening also has substantially the same geometric configuration as the depression to allow the temperature controller to contact as much of the bottom of the cavity as possible.
Internal surface 701 of casing 420 includes depressions 730 and 740. A port 731 is located in depression 730 and a port 741 is located in depression 740. Ports 731 and 741 communicate with channels on the top casing (350 and 360 in
This design causes casings 410 and 420 to exert pressure on the septum, forming a seal between the ports and the channels. The seal is maintained even after fluid is injected into the cavity since the pressure immediately forces the septum to reseal itself after the needle or other fluid injecting means is removed from the port. Thus, an efficient and economical seal for retaining fluid in the cavity is provided.
Also, casing 420 includes the complementary half alignment holes 330 and 335, each tapering radially inward from the external surface. Further, certain areas 765 on internal surface 701 may be cored, as similar to the internal surface of the top casing.
Support structures (or alignment holes) exist at selected locations of the chip packing device. The support structures can be used to mount or position the chip packaging device to an apparatus, e.g., scanner or the like. In an embodiment, the top casing 3200 includes support structures 3201 and 3203 on each side of a center opening 3209. The middle casing 3300 includes similar support structures 3313 and 3315 which are complementary to the support structures 3201 and 3203, respectively, in the top casing. The bottom casing also includes similar support structures 3403 and 3401, respectively, which are complementary to the support structures in the top casing and the middle casing. As shown, each of the support structures on each side of the center opening align with each other. Each support structure is, for example, an aperture through the casing. The aperture includes an outer periphery defined by a geometrical shape which may be round, rectangular, trapezoidal, hexagonal, or the like.
The present chip packaging device assembles with use of complementary alignment pins and bores on the casings. By way of alignment pins (not shown), the top casing aligns with and inserts into alignment bores 3301, 3303 in the middle casing 3300. Alternatively, the middle casing can have alignment pins or the like and the top casing has the alignment bores or the like. The bottom casing includes alignment pins 3407 and 3409 which align to and insert into alignment bores (not shown) in bottom portions of the middle casing. The use of alignment bores and pins provide for ease in assembly of the chip carrier. Upon assembly, the alignment bores and pins on the casings prevent the casings from moving laterally relative to each other.
A center opening 3209 in the top casing overlies a center portion 3317 of the middle casing 3300. The center portion 3317 of the middle casing includes an inner annular region (or cavity edges) with a bottom portion which is preferably a flat bottom portion. The flat bottom portion of the middle casing and portions of the bottom casing including edges define a cavity 3405. A chip is placed overlying an underlying portion of the cavity 3407.
Optionally, a temperature control mechanism such as a heater, a cooler, or a combination thereof is disposed into the center opening against the bottom portion of the middle casing. The temperature control mechanism can be any suitable thermally controlled element such as a resistive element, a temperature controlled block or mass, thermoelectric modules, or the like. The temperature control mechanism transfers heat via conduction to the bottom center portion, which transfers heat to, for example, fluid in the cavity or the chip. Alternatively, the temperature control mechanism sinks heat away from, for example, fluid in the cavity or the chip through the bottom center portion. The temperature control mechanism maintains a selected temperature in the cavity. The temperature control mechanism also includes a temperature detection device such as a thermocouple which provides signals corresponding to temperature readings. A controller receives the signals corresponding to the temperature readings, and adjusts power output to the temperature control mechanism to maintain the selected temperature.
The top casing 3200 also includes channels 3205 and 3207 for fluid transfer. The channels 3205 and 3207 communicate with annular regions 3309 and 3311, respectively, on the middle casing 3300 for fluid transfer. A septum, a plug, an o-ring, a gasket, or the like via annular regions 3309 and 3311 seals fluids within the top casing channels 3205 and 3207 and the middle casing. The bottom casing includes channels 3411 and 3413 in communication with channels 3307 and 3305, respectively. A septum, a plug, an o-ring, a gasket, or the like seals the fluids within the bottom casing channels 3411 and 3413 and the middle casing channels 3305 and 3307.
The chip packaging device provides an even distribution of fluid (or fluid flow) through the cavity over a top surface (or inner or active surface) of the chip. For example, a selected fluid enters channel 3207, flows through channel 3307, changes direction and flows through channel 3411, and evenly distributes into the cavity 3405 over the top surface of the chip. As previously noted, the cavity is defined by the flat bottom portion and cavity edges. A selected fluid exits the cavity by way of channel 3413, channel 3305, and channel 3205. The fluid flow over the top surface of the chip is preferably laminar, but may also be turbulent, a combination thereof or the like. By way of the present chip packaging device, a substantial portion of turbulent flow remains at an upper portion of the channel 3411, and does not enter the cavity.
Preferably, a selected fluid enters the cavity by way of channel 3205, channel 3305, and channel 3413. The selected fluid exits the cavity through channel 3411, channel 3307, and channel 3207. In a preferred embodiment, the fluid flows against the direction of gravity through the cavity. Of course, other fluid flow routes may also be employed depending upon the particular application.
The top-view 3200 of the top casing includes alignment structures 3205, 3215 surrounding opening 3209. The opening 3209 includes a bevelled annular region 3211 surrounding the periphery of the channel 3209. The alignment bores 3203 and 3201 also include bevelled annular regions 3213 and 3215, respectively. A bevelled annular region 3217, 3221 also surrounds each fluid channel 3205, 3207 to assist with fluid flow therethrough.
The bottom-view 3400 of the bottom casing includes alignment structures 3401, 3403 surrounding the cavity 3405. The cavity includes a flat bottom peripheral portion 3415, a bevelled portion 3417 extending from the flat bottom peripheral portion, and a flat upper portion 3419 surrounding the bevelled portion. The chip includes an outer periphery which rests against the flat bottom peripheral portion 3415. The bevelled portion aligns the chip onto the flat bottom peripheral portion 3415. Similar to the previous embodiments, the top casing extends outside 3421 the middle and bottom casings.
The cavity 3405 is preferably located at a center of the bottom casing, but may also be at other locations. The cavity may be round, square, rectangular, or any other shape, and orientation. The cavity is preferably smaller than the surface area of the chip to be placed thereon, and has a volume sufficient to perform hybridization and the like. In one embodiment, the cavity includes dimensions such as a length of about 0.6 inch, A width of about 0.6 inch and a depth of about 0.07 inch.
In a preferred embodiment, the bottom casing with selected cavity dimensions may be removed from the middle and top casings, and replaced with another bottom casing with different cavity dimensions. This allows a user to attach a chip having a different size or shape by changing the bottom casing, thereby providing ease in using different chip sizes, shapes, and the like. Of course, the size, shape, and orientation of the cavity will depend upon the particular application.
In a preferred embodiment, each pin is inserted into its channel region 3205 or 3207. A point on the pin tip pierces through, for example, a septum at an annular region 3309 or 3311. A selected fluid travels through pin 3603 (through channel 3205 and at least a portion of 3305), enters the upper region of channel 3413, and into the cavity 3405. The selected fluid travels from the cavity, through pin 3601, and to the external apparatus. Alternatively, the selected fluid enters the cavity via pin 3601 and exits the cavity via pin 3603. The selected fluid may also enter the cavity via pin and exit the cavity through the channels without use of a pin. The selected fluid may further enter the cavity through the channels without use of a pin and exit through a pin. Of course, the particular pin used and fluid flow will depend upon the application.
It should be noted that the even distribution of fluid flow through the cavity prevents “hot spots” from occurring in the cavity. For example, the even distribution of fluid through the cavity by way of the previous embodiment substantially prevents fluid from becoming substantially turbulent at certain locations. This prevents “hot spots” caused by such turbulent fluid. The hot spots are often caused by higher chemical activity or exothermic reactions and the like by way of turbulence in such certain locations.
b. Assembly of Chip Package
According to one embodiment, the top and bottom casing are attached by a technique known as ultrasonic or acoustic welding.
An acoustic born 860 is mounted on a frame above platform 850. The horn translates vertically (toward and away from platform 850) on the frame by air pressure. The born is connected to a frequency generator 870, which in some embodiments is a 20 KHz generator manufactured by Herrmann Ultrasonics Inc. System 800 is controlled by a controller 880, which, for example, may be a Dialog 2012 manufactured by Herrmann Ultrasonics Inc. Controller 880 may be configured to accept commands from a digital computer system 890. Computer 890 may be any appropriately programmed digital computer of the type that is well known to those skilled in the art such as a Gateway 486DX operating at 33 MHz.
c. Chip Attachment
According to some embodiments, an ultraviolet cured adhesive attaches the chip to the package.
Optionally, a needle 1120 is provided. Needle 1120 includes a channel 1121 and is connected to a vacuum pump. In operation, the needle is inserted into one of the ports of the package in order to generate a vacuum in the cavity. The vacuum pressure secures the chip to the package during the attachment process.
In operation, a chip package is placed onto table 1040. As previously described, the alignment pins on the table immobilize the package. The user begins the chip attachment process by calibrating the head unit. This may be done by moving the camera above the package and aligning it with a mark on the package, as shown in
Next, the chip is inserted into the depression on the chip alignment table.
At step 1430, the user instructs the system to move the camera above a second alignment mark, which usually is at an opposite corner of the chip. Again, an image of the alignment mark is displayed. At this stage, the alignment mark is probably misaligned in the x, y, and angular directions. At step 1440, the user adjusts the rotational stage, x-stage, and y-stage, if necessary, to align the mark with the cross hair on the video display. In instances where the rotational stage has been rotated, the first alignment mark will become slightly misaligned. To compensate for this shift, the user repeats the alignment process beginning at step 1450 until both marks are aligned. Of course, image processing techniques may be applied for automated head unit and chip alignment.
Once the chip is aligned, the vacuum holding the chip on the attachment table is released. Thereafter, the pickup on the head unit removes the chip from the table and aligns it on the cavity of the package. In some embodiments, the chip is mated to the pickup by a vacuum.
Optionally, the user may check to ensure that the chip is correctly aligned on the cavity by examining the chip's alignment marks with the camera. If the chip is out of position, the chip is removed and realigned on the alignment table. If the chip is correctly positioned, the system deposits an adhesive by moving the dispenser along the trough surrounding the cavity. In some embodiments, the vacuum is released before depositing the adhesive in the trough. This step is merely precautionary and implemented to ensure that the vacuum does not cause any adhesive to seep into the cavity. Once the adhesive is deposited, the system reexamines the chip to determine if the adhesive had moved the chip out of position. If the chip is still aligned, the head unit locates the ultraviolet light above the adhesive and cures it for a time sufficient to harden the adhesive, which in one embodiment is about 10 seconds. Otherwise, the chip is realigned.
Upon completion, the chip package will have a variety of uses. For example, the chip package will be useful in sequencing genetic material by hybridization. In sequencing by hybridization, the chip package is mounted on a hybridization station where it is connected to a fluid delivery system. Such system is connected to the package by inserting needles into the ports and puncturing the septums therein. In this manner, various fluids are introduced into the cavity for contacting the probes during the hybridization process.
Usually, hybridization is performed by first exposing the sample with a prehybridization solution. Next, the sample is incubated under binding conditions with a solution containing targets for a suitable binding period. Binding conditions will vary depending on the application and are selected in accordance with the general binding methods known including those referred to in: Maniatis et al., Molecular Cloning: A Laboratory Manual (1989), 2nd Ed., Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y. and Berger and Kimmel, Methods in Enzymology, Volume 152, Guide to Molecular Cloning Techniques (1987), Academic Press, Inc., San Diego, Calif.; Young and Davis (1983) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. (U.S.A.) 80: 1194, which are incorporated herein by reference. In some embodiments, the solution may contain about 1 molar of salt and about 1 to 50 nanomolar of targets. Optionally, the fluid delivery system includes an agitator to improve mixing in the cavity, which shortens the incubation period. Finally, the sample is washed with a buffer, which may be 6×SSPE buffer, to remove the unbound targets. In some embodiments, the cavity is filled with the buffer after washing the sample.
Thereafier, the package may be aligned on a detection or imaging system, such as those disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,143,854 (Pirrung et al.) or U.S. patent application Ser. No. 08/495,889 (Attorney Docket Number 11509-117), already incorporated herein by reference for all purposes. Such detection systems may take advantage of the package's asymmetry (i.e., non-flush edge) by employing a holder to match the shape of the package specifically. Thus, the package is assured of being properly oriented and aligned for scanning. The imaging systems are capable of qualitatively analyzing the reaction between the probes and targets. Based on this analysis, sequence information of the targets is extracted.
IV. Details on Alternative Embodiments
a. Chip Package Orientation
The body also includes two substantially parallel edges 1630 and 1640. As shown, edge 1640 is narrowed at end 1665 to create an uneven edge 1645. The asymmetrical design of the body facilitates correct orientation when mounted onto detection systems. For example, detection systems may contain a holder, similar to that of an audio cassette tape, in which end 1665 is inserted.
As shown in
b. Chip Attachment
Other techniques such as insert molding, wave soldering, surface diffusion, laser welding, shrink wrap, o-ring seal, surface etching, or heat staking from the top may also be employed.
c. Fluid Retention
d. Chip Orientation
This configuration provides several advantages such as: 1) permitting the use of any type of substrate (i.e., non-transparent or non-translucent), 2) yielding more chips per wafer since the chip does not require an edge for mounting, and 3) allowing chips of various sizes or multiple chips to be mated to the package.
A cover 2770 is mated to the package for sealing the cavity. Preferably, cover 2770 is composed of a transparent or translucent material such as glass, acrylic, or other material that is penetrable by light. Cover 2270 may be mated to surface 2705 with an adhesive 2772, which in some embodiments may be silicone, adhesive film, or other adhesive. Optionally, a depression may be formed around the cavity such that surface 2271 of the cover is at least flush with surface 2705. Alternatively, the cover may be mated to surface 2705 according to any of the chip attachment techniques described herein.
Inlets 2750 and 2751 are provided and communicate with cavity 2710. Selected fluids are circulated through the cavity via inlets 2750 and 2751. To seal the fluids in the cavity, a septum, plug, or other seal may be employed. In alternative embodiments, any of the fluid retention techniques described herein may be utilized.
c. Parallel Hybridization and Diagnostics
In an alternative embodiment, the body is configured with a plurality of cavities. The cavities, for example, may be in a 96-well micro-titre format. In some embodiments, a chip is mounted individually to each cavity according to the methods described above. Alternatively, the probe arrays may be formed on the wafer in a format matching that of the cavities. Accordingly, separating the wafer is not necessary before attaching the probe arrays to the package. This format provides significant increased throughput by enabling parallel testing of a plurality of samples.
V. Details of an Agitation System
In operation, a fluid is placed into container 2810. The fluid, for example, may contain targets that are to be hybridized with probes on the chip. Container 2810 is sealed by closing port 2811 while container 2820 is vented by opening port 2821. Next, N2 is injected into container 2810, forcing the fluid through tube 2850, cavity 310, and finally into container 2820. The bubbles formed by the N2 agitate the fluid as it circulates through the system. When the amount of fluid in container 2810 nears empty, the system reverses the flow of the fluid by closing valve 2840 and port 2821 and opening valve 2841 and port 2811. This cycle is repeated until the reaction between the probes and targets is completed.
In some applications, foaming may occur when N2 interacts with the fluid. Foaming potentially inhibits the flow of the fluid through the system. To alleviate this problem, a detergent such as CTAB may be added to the fluid. In one embodiment, the amount of CTAB added is about 1 millimolar. Additionally, the CTAB affects the probes and targets positively by increasing the rate at which they bind, thus decreasing the reaction time required.
The system described in
A waste container 2920 communicates with port 360 via outlet tube 2955. In one embodiment, a liquid sensor 2940 may be provided for sensing the presence of liquid in outlet tube 2955. Access to the waste container may be controlled by a valve 2921. Optionally, additional containers (not shown), similar to container 2930, may be employed for introducing a buffer or other fluid into the cavity.
The system is initialized by closing all valves and filling container 2930 with, for example, a fluid containing targets. Next, valves 2936, 2935, and 2955 are opened. This allows N2 to enter container 2930 which forces the fluid to flow through tube 2950 and into the cavity. When the cavity is filled, valves 2935, 2936, and 2955 are closed to seal the fluid in the cavity. Next, the vortexer is activated to vibrate the chip package, similar to a paint mixer. In some embodiments, the vortexer may vibrate the package at about 3000 cycles per minutes. The motion mixes the targets in the fluid, shortening the incubation period. In some embodiments, the vortexer rotates the chip package until hybridization is completed. Upon completion, valve 2902 and 2955 are opened to allow N2 into the cavity. The N2 empties the fluid into waste container 2920. Subsequently, the cavity may be filled with a buffer or other fluid.
Chamber 3010 is equipped with ports 3011 and 3012. Port 3012 communicates with inlet 350 through a channel 3015. Channel 3015 is provided with a waste port 3016 that communicates with a fluid disposal system 3500 via a tube 3501. A valve 3502 regulates the flow of fluids into the disposal system. In some embodiments, the disposal system includes a waste container 3510 and fluid recovery container 3520 which are connected to tube 3501. A valve 3530 is provided to direct the flow of fluids into either the waste container or recovery container.
Port 3011 is coupled to a fluid delivery system 3600 through a tube 3601. Fluids flowing into chamber 3010 from the fluid delivery system are regulated by a valve 3602. The fluid delivery system includes fluid containers 3610 and 3620 that are interconnected with a tube 3690. Container 3610, which may hold a fluid containing targets, includes ports 3616 and 3615. Port 3616 is connected to tube 3690. A valve 3612 controls the flow of the fluid out of container 3610. A circulator 3605, which may be a N2 source, is connected to port 3615 of container 3610. Alternatively, any type of gas, pump or other fluid transfer device may be employed. The flow of N2 into container 3610 is controlled by a valve 3618. A valve 3619 may also be provided to vent container 3610.
Container 3620, which may hold a buffer, is provided with ports 3625 and 3626. Circulator 3605 is connected to port 3625. A valve 3621 is provided to control the flow of N2 into container 3620. Port 3626 is connected to tube 3690 via a valve 3622. Valve 3622 regulates the flow of the buffer out of container 3620. Optionally, additional containers (not shown), similar to container 3620, may be configured for introducing other fluids into the cavity. A valve 3690 connects circulator 3605 to tube 3690 for controlling the flow of N2 directly into the package. A valve 3652 is provided for venting the fluid delivery system.
In the initial operating state, all valves are shut. To start the hybridization process, a fluid containing targets is introduced into chamber 301 by opening valves 3602, 3612 and 3618. This injects N2 into container 3610 which forces the fluid to flow through 3601 and into chamber 3010. When chamber 3010 is filled, valves 3612 and 3618 are closed. Next, valve 3642 is opened, allowing N2 to flow directly into chamber 3010. The N2 agitates and circulates the fluid into cavity 310 and out to chamber 3020. As the volume of fluid and N2 in chamber 3020 increase, likewise does the pressure therein. When chamber 3020 approaches its capacity, valve 3642 is closed to stop the fluid flow. Thereafter, the system is vented by opening valve 3652. Venting the system allows the back pressure in chamber 3020 to reverse the flow of fluids back into chamber 3010. When chamber 3010 is filled, valve 3652 is closed and valve 3642 is opened to reverse the fluid flow. This cycle is repeated until hybridization is completed.
When hybridization is completed, the system may be drained. This procedure depends on which chamber the fluid is located in. If the fluid is located in chamber 3020, then valve 3502 is opened, while valve 3530 is positioned to direct the fluid into the appropriate container (recovery or waste). The pressure in chamber 3020 forces the fluid through port 3016, tube 3501, and into the disposal system. If the fluid is in chamber 3010, then valve 3502 and 3642 are opened. As a result, N2 forces the fluid in chamber 3010 through port 3501 and into the disposal system.
Once the system is emptied, all valves are closed. A buffer or other fluid may be introduced into the cavity. For example, the cavity may be filled with a buffer by opening valves 3601, 3621, and 3622. This injects N2 into container 3620 which forces the buffer therein to flow through the system until it fills cavity 310. In the alternative, ultrasonic radiation, heat, magnetic beads, or other agitation techniques may be employed.
The present inventions provide commercially feasible devices for packaging a probe chip. It is to be understood that the above description is intended to be illustrative and not restrictive. Many embodiments will be apparent to those skilled in the art upon reviewing the above description. Merely as an example, the package may be molded or machined from a single piece of material instead of two. Also, other asymmetrical designs may be employed to orient the package onto the detection systems.
The scope of the invention should, therefore, be determined not with reference to the above description, but instead should be determined with reference to the appended claims along with their full scope of equivalents.