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ISO 9001 Certification for the Chemical Transducers Group of the IMB-CNM

The Group of Chemical Transducers of the Barcelona Institute of Microelectronics (IMB-CNM) has obtained the ISO 9001: 2015 Certification. This is the international standard for Quality Management Systems (QMS) published by the International Standardization Organization (ISO), which certifies that the processes followed by this scientific group meet the quality standards.

These are some of the devices developed by the GTQ group.In the case of the Chemical Transducers Group, the ISO 9001: 2015 certifies the group's quality in the management of R&D projects, and in the production of sensors, which are manufactured in IMB-CNM’s Clean Room. The Quality Management System is also a requirement of TECNIO, a regional network comprised of research groups and centres with a consolidated track record in collaboration and technology transfer to the business world.

“The certification of our quality management system constitutes an important achievement for the group and it is a stamp that guarantees that the sensor devices we develop, and also those that we commercialise, are produced fulfilling standards that satisfy the potential client. This stamp also certifies that our devices are produced in a suitable environment and they are adapted to accomplish the requirements of this international standard. All this without forgetting to keep improving the development of these devices to make them increasingly more robust and effective”, indicates César Fernández, director and researcher of the group.

The GTQ is an applied research group dedicated to the development of application-specific analytical systems (usually known by its acronym ASAS), such as ad hoc analytical tools for the measurement of chemical parameters in liquid and biological fluids that offer market solutions that respond to the analytical needs in different fields, mainly in health, environment and food.

Among its developments, the ISFET sensor ("Ion Sensitive Field Effect Transistor") stands out: an electrochemical sensor made of silicon chips using microelectronic technology that responds to changes in the activity of an ion. ISFETs respond to changes in the pH of a medium by detecting the activity of protons. Nevertheless, it can be adapted to detect other ions such as calcium, sodium, potassium or nitrates, by means of integrating selective membranes on its surface, which transforms the ISFET into a MEMFET sensor. Since 2009, GTQ has been commercialising ISFET and MEMFET sensors.

GTQ produces ISFET and MEMFET sensors in units for research centres, universities and companies in France, the United States, Spain, Germany, Mexico, Taiwan and Japan, among others. Particularly noteworthy is the GTQ group collaboration with the French company Alpha-mos, which markets ASTREE, a device that incorporates an electronic tongue based on MEMFET sensors. This electronic tongue is used for quality control in the food and pharmaceutical industries.

Another development of the GTQ group is the ISFET-REFET sensor technology, available since 2015. It is based on the integration of two chips, one of which performs as a pH sensor (ISFET), meanwhile the second incorporates a microfluidic structure that operates as a reference electrode (REFET). The technology is patented and licensed to the company Devicare and is the fundamental component of the Lit-Control, a self-diagnostic device that allows people with kidney stones to measure their urine pH easily, quickly and effectively at home, and thus prevent the formation of certain types of kidney stones.

In recent years, the group has moved beyond the sensor concept and is now developing complete systems. These would include integrated chemical sensors along with microfluidic components and the electronics necessary to produce intelligent analytical tools such us point-of-care systems (PoC), wearable devices and versatile and easily adaptable 'lab-on-a-chip' systems to measure different parameters in different samples.


Ferran Vera Gras
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