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Flint's Engineering Portfolio

These inventions were built for the purpose of our main focus at Roche: develop new methods for single-molecule identification. Using these ideas, we successfully provided proof of concept of using electrical and magnetic tunnel junctions for the identification of single DNA molecules. Most data from these projects is protected by Roche, the public information I can provide here are the following published patents and conference talk.

Electric Field-Assisted Junctions for Sequencing,
[WO 2020/078595]

I contributed to this patent as a co-inventor by helping to brainstorm the different configurations of the tunneling junctions and the different possible moeities that we would attach to nucleotides in order to induce tunneling current while the nucleotides passed through or by the tunneling junction.

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Fabrication of Tunneling Junctions with Nanopores for Molecular Recognition,
[US Utility. US-2019-0310241-A1 /
WIPO Publication Number WO 2019/197401]

I contributed to this patent as a co-inventor by helping Juraj Topolancik, the main inventor, brainstorm different electrode architectures that might prevent shorting and by testing the junctions Juraj built to provide data that could be used to QC their build procedure. 

Magnetic Field Sensing Genetic Sequencing:
Single-Molecule Sensors and nanoSystems International Conference

In parallel with experimenting with electrical tunneling signal for single molecule identification, we also used magnetics.​ Nanoparticles tethered to nanoscale magnetic tunnel junctions undergo non-Brownian super-diffusive motion characteristic of what people call "active matter."  Stochastically modulated particle motion in optical traps is the standard tool for creating "active matter" experimentally and it has recently developed into a fairly active research field. The phenomena we have observed are interesting to people who study nonlinear nanoscale thermodynamics.

We repurposed HDD MTJs to detect stochastic motion of tethered superparamagnetic nanoparticles immersed in a solution, introducing magnetic detection as a viable alternative to single-particle optical tracking.

I contributed to this publication by being in the discussions that led to us analyzing the frequency spectra of our results, helping with experimental design, and in the lab by testing our devices to produce data that led to our findings. 

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Experimental parts and lab equipment

Our lab was dedicated to research of novel genetic sequencing technologies, meaning that much of our equipment had to either be built or tuned to our specific use cases. For each of these categories below, I have included several examples.

Wire Bonding, gluing, microfluidic chamber:

My colleague and I worked with several wire bonding vendors and flow-cell designers to build a procedure for wire bonding to highly ESD sensitive devices, securing and insulating them with glue, and attaching microfluidic chambers that would connect to my microfluidic system.

Small electronics:

- Preamplifiers for small tunneling currents.

- Microcontrollers for sampling the amplified signal of many tunneling devices in parallel.

- Scripts for automated synchronized data transfer with various electrical measurement instruments.

3D printing, machining of experimental parts:

- AFM/STM modifications of sample holders

- Microfluidic tubing and piping holders

- Electrical insulation boxes, wiring holders

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