The French Commission of Atomic Energy received US Patent No. 6,510,237, “System for determining the concentration of a substance mixed with a fluorophor, its method of implementation.” The patent covers a reader used in analysis of the Micam-brand DNA chips produced by the commission’s Laboratory of Electronics, Technology and Instrumentation (LETI). The technology determines the concentration of a substance mixed with a fluorophor and contained in an electrically addressable matrix on a reflective carrier. It comprises: a microscope to view the image of the fluorescence of one of the contacts of the matrix, illuminating with a first beam to enable image acquisition in white light, and a second beam to excite the fluorophor contained in the contact; a way to view the contact image; and means to process the image. The equipment used includes a pulsated micro laser, a cooled CCD camera, and a high-pass filter.
The Sir Mortimer B. Davis-Jewish General Hospital of Montreal received US Patent 6,511,849, “Microarrays of biological materials.” The patent covers “relatively simple and inexpensive machinery” to automate the manufacture of microarrays in a reproducible and rapid manner. The process uses ink-jet technology to deposit minute quantities of liquid on a solid substrate. The equipment can be constructed from commercially available components. Part of the technology is a system for cleaning parts of the system to avoid contamination.
Harvard University earned US Patent No. 6,511,803, “Replica amplification of nucleic acid arrays.” The patent covers a method for producing replicas of microarrays and for preserving the resolution through rounds of replication. The patent abstract says the chips can be produced for about $10 a chip and can be reused. The process is described thusly: 1) providing a pool of nucleic acid molecules, 2) plating or other transfer of the pool onto a solid support, 3) in situ amplification, 4) replica printing of the amplified nucleic acids, and 5) identification of features.