A Low-Light CMOS Contact Imager With an Emission Filter for Biosensing Applications

IEEE Trans Biomed Circuits Syst. 2008 Sep;2(3):193-203. doi: 10.1109/TBCAS.2008.2001866.


In this paper, a fully functional low light 128 X 128 contact image sensor for cell detection in biosensing applications is presented. The imager, fabricated in 0.18 mum CMOS technology, provides low-noise operation by employing both a modified version of the active reset (AR) technique and a modified version of the active column sensor (ACS) readout method. High-sensitivity, low noise performance of the presented sensor is well-suited for fluorescence imaging. For this purpose, an emission filter was fabricated and integrated with the sensor. The filter was fabricated using PDMS and Sudan II Blue dye mix, spin-coated and deposited in a class 1000 clean room. The designed filter is suitable for excitation at wavelengths below 340 nm and emission at 450 nm and above. The fabricated imager architecture and operation are described, noise analysis is presented and measurements from a test chip are shown. Experimental results using live neurons from the pond snail, Lymnaea stagnalis, and fluorescence polystyrene micro-beads prove the functionality of the fabricated system and indicate its biocompatiblity.