Dec 1, 2014

National Taiwan University has developed a semiconductor chip that enables to detect a cancer by analyzing breath.

The details of the technology will be announced at International Solid-State Circuits Conference (ISSCC) 2015, an academic conference on semiconductor integrated circuit technologies, which will take place from Feb 22 to 26, 2015, in San Francisco, the US, in a lecture titled “A Portable Micro Gas Chromatography System for Volatile Compounds Detection with 15ppb of Sensitivity” (lecture number: 21.5).

Gas chromatography is drawing attention as a non-invasive method to detect cancers by analyzing the patient’s breath. This time, a research group at the university developed a SoC (system on a chip) for realizing a portable gas chromatography system that can detect cancer-derived volatile organic compounds.

The SoC is equipped with a separation column and preconcentrator formed by a MEMS (micro electro mechanical systems) process in addition to a CMOS-based gas detector, low-noise output front end and control unit and can detect organic compounds with a concentration of 15ppb or higher. The size and current consumption of the chip are 3.3 x 3.6mm and 1mA or lower, respectively. In a test, the research team used the chip and detected seven kinds of organic compounds derived from lung cancer.


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