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Thermo Fisher Ion 520 DNA Sequencing Chip

3 490 €

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Yole Thermo Fisher Ion Torrent 520 2 SystemPlusConsulting cover flyer

Next generation of silicon/polymer microfluidic technology for fast throughput DNA sequencing from Thermo Fisher Ion Torrent®

Today a main challenge in life science research is to reduce the price of genomic analysis, and the time taken to do it. Back in 2003, the cost of sequencing the human genome was almost $3B. That decreased to $10,000 in 2011, and is headed towards $1,000 in the next few years.

Thermo Fisher, with 8% of the microfluidic product market, is one of the companies most involved in sequencing applications, along with its rival Illumina. However, the two companies have different objectives.

Yole Thermo Fisher Ion Torrent 520 Overview SystemPlusConsulting

Thermo Fisher intends to reduce analysis time with fast throughput and short single-end reads. Illumina has high throughput with short paired reads. To deliver fast reading, Thermo Fisher uses Ion Torrent® technology, which relies on technology similar to an image sensor.

The innovative Ion 520 DNA sequencing chip uses this Ion Torrent technology. It includes a multiwell array, which captures the sphere particles that have DNA attached. The particles react with a solution of nucleotides, which changes the charge in the wells, which in turn is detected by the circuit and allows the DNA sequencing.


Yole Thermo Fisher Ion Torrent 520 SystemPlusConsultingYole Thermo Fisher Ion Torrent 520 2 SystemPlusConsulting

With several materials involved in the chip manufacturing, 3D silicon design, polymers for microfluidic processing and its special assembly, the component appears to have a very high level of complexity.  

Using Ion Torrent technology, Thermo Fisher has managed to provide a powerful and cost-effective sensor chip. The process is entirely CMOS compatible. Surprisingly, it uses well-proven standard packaging with a proprietary flow chamber design.

This report includes a complete analysis of the Ion 520 chip from Thermo Fisher, featuring chip disassembly and die analyses, processes and cross-sections. Finally, it contains a full cost analysis and a selling price estimation of the component.   

Table of contents

Overview / Introduction


Company profile and Supply Chain


Physical Analysis

> Package Analysis Methodology
> Package Analysis 
- Views and dimensions 
- Opening
- Cross-section: PCB Susbstrate, Flow cell Member 

> Die Analysis
- Die View and Dimensions: Flow Chamber, Pixels
- Die Active Area View and Delayering
- Die Process
- Die Cross-Section: Metal Layers, Wells, ISFET















Manufacturing Process Flow

> Manufacturing Process Flow
> Wafer Fabrication Unit

Cost Analysis

> Overview of the Cost Analysis
> Supply Chain Description 
> Yield Hypotheses
> Wafer Cost Analyses:
- Front-end cost
- Die cost

> Packaging Cost Analysis
- Packaging Back-End Cost
- Packaging Cost by Process Step

> Component Cost


Estimated Price Analysis













About the authors


System Plus Consulting specializes in the cost analysis of electronics, from semiconductor devices to electronic systems.


Created more than 20 years ago, System Plus Consulting has developed a complete range of services, costing tools and reports to deliver in-depth production cost studies and estimate the objective selling price of a product.


System Plus Consulting engineers are experts in:

  • Integrated Circuits 
  • Power Devices & Modules 
  • MEMS & Sensors
  • Photonics 
  • LED 
  • Imaging 
  • Display 
  • Packaging 
  • Electronic Boards & Systems.

Through hundreds of analyses performed each year, System Plus Consulting offers deep added-value reports to help its customers understand their production processes and determine production costs. Based on System Plus Consulting’s results, manufacturers are able to compare their production costs to those of competitors.

System Plus Consulting is a sister company of Yole Développement.


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  • Detailed photos

  • Precise measurements

  • Material analysis

  • Manufacturing process flow

  • Supply chain evaluation

  • Manufacturing cost analysis

  • Estimated sales price