Gene Sequencing System Alignment and Integration

Our client developed a flow cell based genome sequencing instrument intended for medium volume production. The Electro-Optical subsystems included:

•    Illumination—Multiple Lasers with complex beam shaping were used to evenly illuminate the object plane of a TIRFM (Total Internal Reflection Fluorescence Microscope) system.
•    Imaging—Quad camera focal plane used to image fluoresced sub-diffraction limit objects over a large field of view.
•    Focus Monitor—Custom IR laser based reflective system used in the positioner feedback loop to maintain focus position with-in +/- 0.1um.

Alignment of these subsystems and integration with each other was an art form. The time to build and align a system was cost prohibitive.
Optikos engineers designed test fixtures, developed intermediate alignment techniques, and wrote detailed work instructions to make the assembly and qualification a deterministic process. Optikos then built, tested, and delivered fully qualified and documented subsystems for integration. This changed the dynamic from machines with unique alignments and characteristics to systems with interchangeable subsystems.

Beyond alignment of these subsystems and integration into a single instrument, our client also required that the subassemblies (illumination, focusing monitor, and imaging modules) be interchangeable from instrument to instrument. Although they had demonstrated a proof-of-principle capability to perform the system’s complex optical alignments, they recognized that support from industry experts would be required to develop robust and repeatable manufacturing and alignment procedures within an ISO 9000 quality framework for successful commercialization of the product.


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