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An experimental type of integrated circuit whose basic components are organic molecules.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

micro array

A semiconductor device that is used to detect the DNA makeup of a human cell. DNA chains comprise molecules that pair with each other, and micro arrays contain millions of DNA strands designed to mate with their other half as the liquefied human cells are poured over them. This "hybridization" process is then detectable by a laser.

Micro arrays are revolutionizing medicine by being able to pinpoint a very specific disease or the susceptibility to it. Also called "biochips," Affymetrix ( pioneered this technology with its GeneChip family. See Human Genome Project.

Micro Array Features
The square locations on this Affymetrix array are called "features," and each feature holds millions of identical DNA strands called "probes." The probes are built like semiconductor chips, one layer at a time. (Image courtesy of Affymetrix.)

Hybridization (Pairing)
The human DNA sample, which has been replicated millions of times and fragmented into short pieces, is washed over the micro array. The red balls depict biotin molecules that were adhered to the fragments, which "swim" around the probes for up to 16 hours. During that time, some strands will pair with the probes (the hybridization process). (Image courtesy of Affymetrix.)

The array is rinsed and washed with a fluorescent stain that clings to the biotin on the strands of the human sample that remain. A laser causes them to glow, and the DNA is analyzed (genotyped) based on which probes on the array they mated with. (Images courtesy of Affymetrix.)
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References in periodicals archive ?
The tool, which will manufacture biochip components used in high-throughput, massively parallel protein analysis systems, was selected by Zyomyx based on superior process results, versatile process flexibility, and on Tegal's reputation for outstanding customer support.
Biochips are valuable tools for use in identifying and determining the roles of genes, gene mutations, and gene products (proteins) by vastly increasing the number of genes that can be studied in a single experiment.
(million dollars) 1997 1999 2004 Biochip Product & Service Demand 48.7 267.5 1605.0 Biochips 4.2 87.2 648.0 Instrumentation 6.0 66.2 298.0 Services 33.1 47.1 102.6 Reagents & Consumables 3.3 45.6 491.0 Software 2.1 21.4 65.4 99/97 04/99 Biochip Product & Service Demand 134 43 Biochips 356 49 Instrumentation 232 35 Services 19 17 Reagents & Consumables 272 61 Software 219 25
and its fluorescence-based readers for biochips, phone 519-886-9013 or visit their website at or
The "Biochips - Technologies, Markets & Companies" report from Jain PharmaBiotech has been added to's offering.
The report says microarrays held the majority share of the total market in 2011, on account of technological advancements in the field of microarrays and increased commercial application of biochips post the success of the Human Genome Project (HGP).
Leading sensor manufacturers offer a wide range of microsensors, including MEMS, biochips and nanosensors.
Among their topics are microflows, the diffusion of biochemical species, biochemical reactions in biochips, magnetic particles in biotechnology, and micromanipulations and separations using electric fields.
Quoted by Reuters, MediBic spokesman Takashi Kawai told Nikkei News, "many applications for biochips have yet to be developed."
Biochips combine these technologies with microelectronics to form complete infectious disease detection systems.
Drip research also advances droplet-related applications such as ink-jet printing and depositing DNA on biochips. Now, two new studies are extending scientists' understanding of drips.
Proteus and CEA-LETI (a member of the Commissariat a l'Energie Atomique, the French Agency for Atomic Energy), have formed a partnership, which aims at developing and industrializing advanced PHENOMICS-based biochips.