Modular high-throughput microplatform for future synthetic biology mass data storage.

Duration: 2022 - 2025

© Fraunhofer FEP
Microchip plattform for efficient DNA storage.

DNA is known as the basic medium for storing genomic information. However, DNA can also be used to store (binary) data - a future technology that has so far been little explored in Europe. Our institute branch Integrated Silicon Systems (ISS) is now part of a Fraunhofer-internal project dealing with a "Modular High-Throughput Microplatform for Future Mass Data Storage from Synthetic Biology". The goal of the project is to significantly improve DNA synthesis. This is done by a universal microchip platform for DNA / RNA / peptide writing. Previous synthesis approaches (including ink-jet) are not very efficient in generating long DNA segments. Moreover, they generate numerous inaccuracies that are time-consuming and expensive to correct. In addition, the corresponding instrumentation is large and costly.

The BIOSYNTH project therefore aims to lay the technological, biological and informational foundations for biological mass data storage devices of extremely high storage density and aging resistance. The task of Fraunhofer IPMS is to develop the "thermal" layer for the microchip platform. The heating function for setting the temperature for biological synthesis is performed by structures in surface micromechanics following the CMUT technology. In addition, Fraunhofer IPMS contributes with simulation expertise to the thermal functionality. The task in the project is then to realize a MEMS technology in which organic components (organic light emitting diodes and photodiodes) can be integrated to monitor the synthesis process. To this end, ISS is working closely with Fraunhofer FEP. Subsequently, colleagues from Fraunhofer IZI in Brandenburg will implement the synthesis process using the microchip platform. Fraunhofer ITEM is working on corresponding coding processes in biological components.

The microchip platform to be developed for writing software-defined nucleotide sequences (e.g. DNA, RNA or peptides) is intended to enable the high-throughput, highly parallel production of mass data storage by duplication in the series production processes of the microelectronics industry. With the help of the platform, miniaturization is intended to replace today's space-consuming synthesis devices with portable, low-energy and cost-effective systems, thus enabling commercial, biologically based data storage. The platform can also be an important component for other applications such as ecological and food toxicology (including non-target screening), individualized therapies, bio-computing and logistics.

Advisory Board

  • Prof. Dr. Anke Becker, Philipps-Universität Marburg
  • Christoph Kögler, Infineon Technologies, Dresden
  • Volker Herbig, X-FAB Group, Erfurt
  • Timo Dommermuth, Bundesarchiv Koblenz
  • Jörg Schenk, Hybrotec GmbH, Potsdam