17 Jun 2002
Fiber-optic giant Corning is to try its luck in the fast-growing DNA microarray market. The microarrays, which are used in genome research, are tools that could help in the discovery of new drugs that are based on a person's individual genetic sequence.
Corning says it has a new manufacturing process that is capable of making one microarray per minute - a figure that is between ten and 20 times faster than current approaches. The process combines three technologies that are used to make other Corning products, drawing on the company's expertise in manufacturing strands of optical fiber.
In the process, honeycomb-like glass substrates containing thousands of individual cells are drawn out in much the same way as optical fiber strands. The drawing technique reduces the diameter of each cell by five times or more, while maintaining its integrity and structure.
The contents of the reduced substrate can then be simultaneously printed onto a single glass slide.
The arrays are currently undergoing trials at laboratories in Europe and the US.