US 20090305908 A1
A method for preferentially localizing desired molecules within an optical confinement disposed upon a substrate is disclosed. The desired molecules are deposited over the surface of the substrate. The desired molecules that are not within the optical confinement are selectively removed from the surface of the substrate.
1. A method of preferentially localizing desired molecules within an optical confinement disposed upon a substrate, comprising:
depositing the desired molecules over the surface of the substrate; and
selectively removing the desired molecules from the surface of the substrate that is not within the optical confinement.
2. A method of localizing a molecule within an optical confinement disposed on a substrate, comprising:
providing a light activated coupling group on the surface of the substrate, including within the optical confinement;
directing activating radiation at the substrate, wherein the optical confinement permits activation radiation to be incident only within the optical confinement; and
coupling the molecule to the light activated coupling group.
3. A method of selectively immobilizing a molecule of interest on a substrate, comprising:
providing a substrate having a first surface component and a second surface component where the first and second surface component have different surface characteristics; and
selectively coupling the molecule of interest to the first surface component, based upon a difference between the surface characteristics of the first surface component and the surface characteristics of the second surface component.
4. The method of
5. The method of
6. The method of
7. A method of selectively depositing a molecule of interest on selected regions of a substrate, comprising:
providing a substrate having first and second components, the first component comprising a conductive material and the second component comprising an insulator; and
applying an electrical potential to the first component so as to increase or decrease association of a molecule of interest with a surface of the first component.
This application claims priority as a continuation application under 35 U.S.C. §120 or §365(c) to co-pending U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/423,403, entitled “Method and System for Multiplex Genetic Anlaysis,” filed Jun. 9, 2006, which in turn claims priority to U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/689,692 filed Jun. 10, 2005. The entireties of the disclosures of the above-identified applications are incorporated herein by reference as though set forth in full.
The present application relates to molecular analysis, and more particularly to methods and systems for multiplex genetic analysis of single molecule nucleic acid synthesis.
The information stored in a DNA molecule depends on particular sequences of nucleotides, which are bases or building blocks of the DNA molecule. DNA sequencing allows the determination of the nucleotide sequence of a particular DNA segment. A conventional method of DNA sequencing starts with a defined fragment of a DNA molecule as a template. Based on this template, a population of molecules differing in size by one base of a known composition is generated. The population of molecules is then fractioned based on size using, for example, acrylamide or agarose gel electrophoresis of single-stranded DNA molecules. The base at the truncated end of each of the fractionated molecules is thereafter determined to establish the nucleotide sequence.
A sequencing method called dideoxy sequencing was developed by Fred Sanger. His method is based on DNA synthesis in the presence of dideoxy nucleotides (ddNTP), which differ from normal deoxynucleotides (dNTP) in that they lack a 3′-hydroxyl group so that once a dideoxy nucleotide is incorporated, it will terminate strand synthesis. The procedure for dideoxy sequencing starts with setting up four reactions each in a different tube containing the single strand DNA to be sequenced, labeled (tagged) primer, DNA polymerase, normal dNTPs, and a different ddNTP (i.e. for A,T,C, or G). A dideoxy nucleotide will be incorporated, randomly, at each point the corresponding nucleotide occurs in the template strand. Each time a dideoxy nucleotide is incorporated, it will stop further DNA replication. This will generate a set of fragments of various lengths, each fragment corresponding to the point at which there is a nucleotide complementary to the dideoxy nucleotide. The fragments are then separated based on their length by electrophoresis. With the smaller fragments migrating faster, the sequence can be determined by associating the base composition with each fragment.
The above technique for DNA sequencing suffer from the disadvantage that sample preparation is relatively complex in order to ensure that the tubes contain the same DNA molecules or fragments of the same DNA molecules to be sequenced. This leads to increased costs and the possibility of error. A simpler method results if molecule-based investigation techniques are used to observe the synthesis of a single DNA molecule. Because only one molecule is being observed, there is no need to ensure that all of the surrounding molecules are the same.
Specialized tools for imaging and spectroscopy have been developed to characterize nanomaterials and nanomaterials-related phenomenon. Techniques for constructing these tools comprise near-field scanning optical microscopy (NSOM) and single molecule spectroscopy (SMS). These techniques offer unique capabilities for investigating properties at the molecular level owing to their high spatial resolution, chemical sensitivity, and their ability to determine dynamical properties such as molecule binding/unbinding kinetics and the structural dynamics of polymers. For example, a sample-scanning confocal fluorescence microscope using SMS developed by McNeil et al. has demonstrated spatial resolution of ˜400 nm, and single molecule sensitivity. It uses a detector system having a single-photon avalanche diode and a sensitive TE-cooled CCD spectrometer, permitting the ability to monitor fluorescence in the range of 400 to 1100 nm at a resolution of 20 nm and the ability to conduct time-lapse fluorescence spectroscopy with single molecule sensitivity.
The single-molecule techniques described above, however, often employ femtoliter-scale observation volumes and require the use of picomolar to nanomolar sample concentrations to ensure that on average only one molecule will be present in the sample volume. These concentrations are far lower than those that normally occur in nature. Thus, molecule dynamics that are affected by concentration cannot be suitably tested using the techniques. To overcome the deficiencies of NSOM and SMS techniques, other developments have been proposed. For example, Levene et al. describes a device for single molecule analysis employing a sample plate, which has 50 nm-diameter holes in a 100 nm thick aluminum film on a fused silica coverslip. When the holes are illuminated from under the fused silica coverslip, the holes act as zero-mode waveguides prohibiting the light from going through the aluminum film because the diameter of the holes are much smaller than the wavelength of the light, which is about 400-700 nm. The light, however, does generate an evanescent field that extends about 10 nm into the cavity of each illuminated hole producing a zeptoliter-scale effective observation volume near the opening of the hole. See Levene et al., US Patent Application Publication Number 2003/0174992 A1, which is incorporated herein by reference.
The small observation volume provided by the zero-mode waveguides described by Levene, however, raises other challenges spanning from sample preparation, signal detection, noise or background suppression, data collection and data analysis algorithms. Accordingly, significant further developments are needed.
The present teaching in one aspect comprises an affordable high-sensitivity and high-throughput system and method for single-molecule analysis that performs at a lower cost relative to conventional systems used in sequencing, resequencing, and SNP detection. These and other features of the present teaching are set forth herein.
The present disclosure provides apparatuses, systems and methods for analyzing a plurality of molecules by detecting separately and substantially simultaneously light emissions from a plurality of localized light-emitting analytes each including a single one of the plurality of molecules. The detected light emissions, after being properly analyzed, can be used to deduce the structure or properties of each of the plurality of molecules. In some embodiments, the apparatus, systems and methods can be used for nucleic acid sequencing, nucleic acid re-sequencing, and/or detection and/or characterization of single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP analysis) including gene expression.
In one aspect, a method for preferentially localizing desired molecules within an optical confinement disposed upon a substrate is disclosed. The desired molecules are deposited over the surface of the substrate. The desired molecules that are not within the optical confinement are selectively removed from the surface of the substrate.
In another aspect, a method for localizing a molecule within an optical confinement disposed on as substrate is disclosed. A light activated coupling group is provided on the surface of the substrate and within the optical confinement. Activating radiation is directed to the substrate, wherein the optical confinement permits activation radiation to be incident only within the optical confinement. The molecule is coupled to the light activated coupling group.
In still another aspect, a method for selectively immobilizing a molecule of interest on a substrate is disclosed. A substrate having a first surface component and a second surface component is provided. The first and second surface components have different surface characteristics. The molecule of interest is selectively coupled to the first surface component based upon a difference between the surface characteristics of the first surface component and the surface characteristics of the second surface component.
In still yet another aspect, a method for selectively depositing a molecule of interest on selected regions of a substrate is disclosed. A substrate having first and second components is provided. The first component is comprised of a conductive material and the second component is comprised of an insulator. An electrical potential is applied to the first component so as to increase or decrease association of a molecule of interest with a surface of the first component.
These and other features of the present teaching are set forth herein.
The skilled artisan will understand that the drawings, described below, are for purposes of illustration only, and are not intended to limit the scope of the present teaching in any way.
It is to be understood that both the foregoing summary and the following description of various embodiments are exemplary and explanatory only and are not restrictive of the present teachings. In this application, the use of the singular comprises the plural unless specifically stated otherwise. Also, the use of “or” means “and/or” unless stated otherwise. Similarly, “comprise,” “comprises,” “comprising,” “comprise,” “comprises,” and “including” are not intended to be limiting.
Additionally, while certain embodiments are described in detail herein, particularly embodiments suitable for analysis of single molecule nucleic acid synthesis, it is to be understood the apparatus, systems and methods of the present disclosure may be employed in other applications for analysis of single molecules, such as but not limited to directed resequencing, SNP detection, and gene expression.
Furthermore, the figures in this application are for illustration purposes and many of the figures are not to scale with corresponding hardware. Many parts of the features in the figures in this application are drawn out of scale purposefully for ease of illustration.
Systems according to some embodiments of the present disclosure generally comprise a sample holder configured to hold a plurality of localized light-emitting analytes each comprising a single one of a plurality of molecules to be analyzed, a light source configured to illuminate the sample holder, and an optical assembly configured to collect and detect light emitted from the source points.
System 100 may optionally comprise an index-matching prism 108. A space between the sample holder 110 and the optical assembly 130 may be filled with a fluid 104. The utility of the index-matching prism 108 and the fluid 104 is discussed below. Although for reasons discussed below, it may be advantageous to direct the excitation light from the light source 120 to the sample holder 110 at an angle, as shown by the solid line 121 in
In exemplary embodiments of the present teaching, sample holder 110 is configured to support and confine the plurality of light-emitting analytes. For ease of discussion, each localized light-emitting analyte will hereafter be referred to as a dye or a “source point”. In various embodiments, a dye or a source point comprises a single nucleic acid molecule, a fraction of a nucleic acid molecule, an oligonucleotide molecule, or a single nucleic acid polymerizing enzyme. The dye or source point may also comprise one or more other molecules, constituents, or reactants. The emitted light from the complex can be used to deduce the structure or properties of a target nucleic acid molecule.
In one exemplary embodiment, in applications employing nucleic acid sequencing, each source point is a complex of a single nucleic acid polymerizing enzyme, a target nucleic acid molecule, and at least one incorporated or incorporating fluorescence-labeled nucleotide analog. The source point is localized or spatially constrained in at least one dimension that is less than the wavelength of the excitation light. The fluorescent label on the nucleotide analog emits fluorescent light upon illumination by light source 120. In exemplary embodiments of the present teaching, four different nucleotide analogs are labeled with four different fluorescent dyes each having a unique emission spectrum. The four different fluorescent dyes can also be associated with four different frequency bands each corresponding to a peak in emission intensity according to the respective spectrum. The four different frequency bands are hereafter referred to as first, second, third, and fourth frequency bands.
Thus, the time sequence of base incorporation can be observed by detecting fluorescent signals from sequentially incorporated nucleotide analogs associated with a source point. The fluorescent light signals from different source points on the sample holder 110 are substantially simultaneously collected and detected by optical assembly 130 and are analyzed by computer system 140 to determine the identities of the incorporated nucleic acid molecule in each of the source points. To reduce or eliminate interference between fluorescent signals associated with consecutive incorporation events on a same source point, after detection of an incorporation event, fluorescent label on the newly incorporated nucleotide can be bleached, cleaved or otherwise removed with a known technique. Photo-cleavable linkers may be utilized to facilitate efficient and consistent removal of the fluorescent labels.
In some embodiments, the source points are localized or spatially constrained at different locations on sample holder 110 by immobilizing the single nucleic acid molecule or the single nucleic acid polymerizing enzyme in each source point at one of the locations. This allows separate and substantially simultaneous detection of fluorescent emission from the plurality of source points. A conventional method or one of the methods discussed below can be used to immobilize the enzymes or the template nucleic acid molecules.
As shown in
In various embodiments, the metallic film 114 on the top surface of the substrate 112 has etched patterns forming cavities for housing the plurality of source points and separating the plurality of source points to allow resolution by the optical assembly 130. In some embodiments, zero-mode waveguides, such as those described in Patent Application Number US 2003/0174992 by Levene et al, which is incorporated herein by reference, are formed in metallic film 114, as shown in a cross-sectional view in
Thus, in some embodiments, to allow the detection and analysis of light emitted from the source points 210, each source point 210 is immobilized in the bottom portion 312 of a zero-mode waveguide 310, so that light emitted from the source point can escape the hole 310, pass through substrate 112 and be collected by optical assembly 130. Preferably, only one source point should be present in the bottom portion 310 of a hole 310 because it would be difficult for the optical assembly to distinguish the emitted light from more than one source point in a single hole 310 considering the size of the hole. Therefore, in the exemplary embodiment, holes 310 that either do not have any source point immobilized in the bottom portion 312 or have more than one source point immobilized in the bottom portion 312 do not contribute to the analysis and are considered as empty sites in an array of source points 210.
For ease of discussion, the description hereafter will be illustrated in the context of nucleic acid sequencing, while the methods, systems and apparatus of the present teaching can be applied to other types of molecular analysis. Methods of immobilizing molecules involved in a genetic assay in waveguides 310 are described in detail in US Patent Application Number US 2003/0044781 by Korlach et al., which is incorporated herein by reference. Using the methods described by Korlach, some of the array of holes 310 can each contain a single DNA molecule or enzyme immobilized in the bottom portion 312, while a large percentage of the holes may contain none or multiple molecules in each of them and are thus useless in the analysis.
Still referring to
Optionally, after populating the waveguides with polymerase molecules, a primer is attached to each polymerase molecule by a flexible linker. Attaching the primer to the polymerase molecule helps the analysis because the DNA template would be tethered and not float away, allowing subsequent synthesis to occur on the same template. In one aspect, this benefits the analysis by increasing read lengths and throughput. Longer read lengths help to simplify any fragment assembly problem.
In some embodiments, a method for enriching the sample holder involves the use of nanobeads. As shown in
In alternative embodiments of the present teaching, sample holder 110 comprises slots or channels to facilitate confining the plurality of source points 210 on the sample holder 110. FIG. 6 illustrates a 3-dimensional view of a plurality of channels 610 formed in metallic film 114 on substrate 112. As a non-limiting example, channels 610 are formed in an aluminum film over a fused silica substrate. Each channel 610 has a width w that is smaller than a wavelength associated with light source 120. In exemplary embodiments of the present teaching, light from light source 120 is linearly polarized and the polarization direction is oriented with the electric field vector in the light wave along the width direction of the channels. Thus, only a bottom portion 612 in each channel 610 would be illuminated by the excitation light from light source 120, as shown in
Sample holder 110 with channels 610 formed thereon has multiple advantages over a sample holder with zero-mode waveguide holes 310 formed thereon. Because the fluorescent emissions are largely unpolarized, they would not be attenuated when they try to exit the channels 610 as much as when they try to exit holes 310 of sub-wavelength dimension. So, more emitted light from sample holder 110 can be collected and detected by optical assembly 130, resulting in increased signal to noise ratio. In addition, each channel 610 can house a larger DNA template molecule if the DNA molecule is oriented parallel to the channel, as shown in a top-down view of the channel in
The polymerase or template molecules can be attached to sample holder 110 using conventional photoactivatable linkers. In exemplary embodiments of the present teaching, channels 610 may house more than one polymerase or template molecules attached to sample holder 110 by flexible linkers that are placed in the channels 610. The molecules should be attached to the channels 610 in a resolvable fashion, meaning that they are sufficiently spaced from each other to allow efficient resolution of the emissions therefrom by the optical assembly 130.
In one embodiment, as shown in
With the electric field still on, step 830 is performed to further attach the oligo 710 so that the field can be removed later, preventing the field from interfering with sequencing operation afterwards. The oligo in each of the plurality of channels may be stretched and attached simultaneously using the same or different electrodes.
After binding the enzyme, oligonucleotide, or target nucleic acid molecules to the sample holder 110, the sample holder 110 is placed in system 100. A fluorophore solution comprising fluorescence labeled nucleotide analogs is applied to the sample holder 110. In exemplary embodiments of the present teaching, the speed of chemistry of incorporation can be altered by changing the temperature, viscosity, and concentration of the fluorophore solution, and/or by modifying the base chemistry. For example, adding molecules such as dye molecules to the fluorophore solution has been found to slow the rate of base incorporation. In addition, the sample holder 110 in system 100 should ideally be under temperature control to insure consistency. The temperature could be changed during detection. For example, the temperature of the sample holder 110 can be reduced to slow down or stop incorporation activities until the rest of system 100 is ready to collect signals from the sample holder 110, as discussed below.
To observe light emitted from the source points, excitation light from light source 120 is directed towards the substrate side of the sample holder 110, and signals from fluorescing nucleotides are collected by optical assembly 130. The confinement of the source points on sample holder 110 helps to distinguish the fluorescent signals emitted by incorporated nucleotides in the source points 210 from those emitted by freely diffusing fluorescent ligands.
As explained in more detail below, multiple methods can be used in exemplary embodiments for base determination. For example, color, signal strength, bleaching life, fluorescent lifetime, and incorporation time can be combined to gain better base discrimination. The consistency of these measurements can be used to predict a confidence value for the base determination. Confidence values can be used to sort or weight the data and to discard data of low quality, thus allowing automated consensus generation from large amount of data. This can improve the quality of the consensus as well as providing a measure of confidence.
Prior art systems, such as the one described by Levene et al., 2003 in “Zero-Mode Waveguides for Single-Molecule Analysis at High Concentrations,” SCIENCE, Vol. 299:682, which article is incorporated herein by reference, uses a confocal fluorescent set up. The confocal fluorescent set up has multiple shortcomings. First, the aluminum film reflects the excitation light directly back into the collection optics. The reflected excitation light is very intense compared to the fluorescent signals from incorporated nucleotides. To attenuate the reflected light, multiple filters are used, and each filter attenuates a significant percentage of the already weak fluorescent signals. Furthermore, the excitation light in the set up of Korlach and Levene, supra, can also excite fluorescence in the optics. This unwanted fluorescence could pass through the filters, increasing the background noise.
In exemplary embodiments of the present teachings, excitation light from light source 120 is directed to the source points in sample holder 110 in an off-axis manner such that reflected excitation light, or a significant amount of it, could not enter the optical assembly 130. In some embodiments, where prism or wedge 108 is not provided, a light ray 901 from light source 120 is directed to sample holder 110 at an angle θ with respect to a normal direction N of substrate 112, as shown in
To eliminate or reduce reflection at the bottom surface 910 of substrate 112, θ can be chosen to be within 10°of the Brewster's angle θB. Furthermore, to achieve zero or near zero reflection at the bottom surface 910 of substrate 112, the light from the light source 120 is linearly polarized with the E vector in the light parallel to the plane of incidence, which is the plane containing the incident ray 901 and the normal N of substrate 112. According to Brewster's Law, when the angle of incidence θ is equal to or near the Brewster's angle θB, the transmittance, i.e., the ratio of transmitted power in ray 914 to the incident power in ray 901 across bottom surface 910 of substrate 112 should be one or near to one and the reflected power in ray 912 from surface 910 should be zero or near zero. Brewster's angle θB is given by:
where n1 and n2 are the refractive indices of the respective media, i.e., air and substrate 112, and ε1 and ε2 are their respective electric permittivity values.
In some embodiments, system 100 is configured to achieve total internal reflection so that a significant amount of the excitation light from light source 120 is recycled within substrate 112, as shown in
In exemplary embodiments of the present teaching, θ is selected to be equal or larger than a critical angle θτ such that light ray 1112 is totally reflected from boundary 1010 and comes back towards metallic film 114 as light ray 1114. The above reflection from the metallic film 114 and the total reflection at the boundary 1010 are repeated for light ray 1114 and its derivatives, which are the reflected portion of light ray 1114 and reflected portion thereof and so on, as shown in
where n1 and n2 are the refractive indices of the respective media, i.e., air and substrate 112, respectively.
In further embodiments, collection efficiency of optical assembly can be increased by using a fluid 104 having a refractive index between that of the air and that of the transparent material used to construct the substrate 112. For example, when substrate 112 is made of fused silica having a refractive index of about 1.46, water can be used as the fluid 104 because it has a refractive index of 1.33, which is between the refractive index of air (˜1) and that of fused silica (˜1.46). The fluid 104 is placed between the substrate 112 and the optical assembly 130. In the embodiments employing the fluid 104, the critical angle is determined by:
where nf is the refractive index of the fluid. The critical angle θτ is therefore increased by employing the fluid. With the increase in the critical angle θτ, the collection efficiency is increased because more emitted light from the source points is able to escape through the bottom surface 910 of the substrate 112 without going through total internal reflection, and can therefore be collected by the optical assembly 130. The angle α of the prism 108 and the incident angle θ of the excitation light may be adjusted accordingly to allow total internal reflection of the excitation light to still occur in the presence of the fluid 104.
In another exemplary embodiment, as shown in
In another exemplary embodiment, as shown in
In another exemplary embodiment, as shown in
In another exemplary embodiment, the excitation light 901 from the light source 120 is coupled into the substrate 112 through a grism, which is a prism and grating combination, or grating 1080 formed on or attached to a portion of the bottom surface 1010 of the substrate 112, as shown in
The arrangements in
In various embodiments, optical assembly 130 comprises at least one pixilated or multi-element detector configured to sense light signals landed thereon and a set of optical components configured to direct light emissions from the source points toward the multi-element detector(s).
Thus, as shown in
The position of the images 1230 can be determined by a spatial calibration to associate each source point on the sample holder with an area 1230 on the image plane 1220. The calibration can be done by using a dye solution or a light source that is not blocked by system filters. Such calibration, however, may not be required if there is no need to correspond the images 1230 with the source points 210. In addition, tolerance should be allowed to insure that there is sufficient separation d between the areas 1230 and the edges of the image plane 1220, and the separation should be controlled to allow detection of all of the source points 210 on the image plane 1220. As a non-limiting example, the buffer zone d between a side 1232 of an areas 1230 facing an edge 1222 of the image plane 1220 is no more than 8 pixels wide.
In exemplary embodiments, the optical assembly 130 is similar to the one in the optical system disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 6,690,467 B1 by Reel, which is incorporated herein by reference. As shown in
The use of the collection lens assembly 1310 may also provides a substantially collimated region between the collection lens assembly 1310 and the reimaging lens assembly 1320, which is suitable for insertion of a variety of optical devices such as a an aperture 1340, a light-dispersing assembly 1350, and/or a laser line filter 1360. In exemplary embodiments, the light-dispersing assembly 1350 comprises at least one grating, prism, or grism configured to spread spectrally rays of light that pass through it. For example, a transmission grating deflects rays of light that strike thereon at an angle roughly proportional to the wavelength of the light. Thus, the collimated light emissions from the source points 210, after going through the transmission gratings, are dispersed spectrally. With the spectral dispersion, a first light ray of a first wavelength and a second light ray of a second wavelength coming from a same source point 210 should arrive at the reimaging lens assembly 1320 at different angles with respect to an optical axis of the reimaging lens assembly 1320 and thus be focused onto different locations 1234 and 1236 of the area 1230 corresponding to the source point, as shown in
Instead of prism, grating, or grism in the light dispersing assembly 1350, dichoic or bandpass filters can be used to separate the spectral components in the fluorescent signals from each source point.
Alternatively, a dichroic or bandpass filter can be configured to reflect the first, second, third, or fourth band of fluorescent signals, and to allow passage of all other frequencies. It is also possible to combine bandpass, notch, lowpass and highpass filters in any combination that permits appropriate separation of the emission wavelengths.
Imaging lenses 1320-1, 1320-2, 1320-3 and 1320-4 can be separate lenses or sections of a single lens, CCD detectors 1330-1, 1330-2, 1330-3, and 1330-4 in
The CCD assembly 1330 comprises at least one charge-coupled device (CCD) array, such as a regular CCD array, a complimentary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) array, an electron-multiplying CCD (EMCCD) array, an intensified CCD (ICCD) array, or an electron-bombarded CCD (EBCCD) array. A CCD array is advantageous over other multi-element detectors, such as an array of avalanche photodiode (APD) based detectors or photomultiplier tube (PMT) based detectors, because the number of elements in a CCD array is much higher, as the size of a CCD pixel in the CCD array can be as small as 3 μm or even smaller. Therefore, signals from different source points can be differentiated by detecting them using different groups of elements in the CCD array, as discussed above. A CCD array can be much less costly than an APD or PMT array.
To amplify the low light signals from fluorescing labels on the incorporated bases above background noises in CCD arrays, a high-sensitivity CCD-based device such as EMCCD, ICCD, or EB-CCD, is used in exemplary embodiments. Due to fast base incorporation rates of DNA molecules, in addition to sensitivity, the speed of reading data out from a CCD detector is also important because it is associated with the ability to capture event data and to readout the data out over a short period of time to allow the next event to be observed. Through careful design of a readout scheme, a CCD array can be made to be fast enough to resolve fluorescent emissions from two consecutive incorporation events associated with a same source point. Moreover, a CCD with multiple outputs or taps can be used to increase the CCD readout speed. For example, a CCD with 4 taps can allow a 4-times increase in readout speed, which allows images of more source points to be read for increased throughput.
To further improve the readout speed, a frame transfer CCD (FTCCD) array 1500, as illustrated in
Dark area 1510 is a region of excess pixels. Because these pixels are not illuminated, they do not have to be cleared during each readout. Usually, the combination of dark area 1510 and image areas 1520 maps directly onto the storage area 1530. In one embodiment, image area 1520 occupies a small fraction (e.g. 1/10) of the combination so that source point data can be read out at, for example, 10 times the normal frame rate. In exemplary embodiments, CCD array 1500 is kept cool at about 80° C. below zero so that minimal dark current charges are generated. In certain embodiments, the dark area is eliminated when CCD 1500 is custom built to have just the right amount of rows in the image area 1520.
In some embodiments, an interline CCD or a combined interline and frame transfer CCD may be employed.
Where an actual two-dimensional image is desired from the CCD, the image data in a digital format is reconstructed to yield the final image. Where the data is to be used for non-pictorial or non-imaging applications, the relevant pixel data may be identified and processed according to its intended purpose. One advantage of the interline CCDs is their ability to operate without a shutter or synchronized strobe, allowing for an increase in device speed and faster frame rates. An interline CCD array can be used to eliminate blurring or image smear, which is a common problem with frame-transfer CCDs, by effectively doing horizontal shifts directly from the image regions to the respective ones of the storage regions.
In exemplary embodiments, readout speed is further improved by limiting the number of source points to be imaged on the CCD so that the number of data rows to be read are minimized. The number of data rows to be read may also be minimized by binning vertically (in the y-direction), especially when the source points 210 and thus the images of the source points 1230 are in an array so that the positions of the images can be fairly accurately predicted, as shown in
The CCD array in detector 1330 may also be made to allow clearing of the horizontal register 1540 or 1590. This can speed up readouts if desired data is separated by rows of unneeded pixels.
While the frequency bands in
In exemplary embodiments of the present teaching, optical data collected by detector 1330 is sent to computer system 140 and optionally or additionally DSP or FPGA 150 for base determination.
With the illumination of excitation light, a labeled and incorporated nucleotide should fluoresce by emitting photons from an associated source point. The spectrum of the photons collected at detector 130 from this single incorporation event should be a collection of photons with different energies or frequencies. When the number of collected photons is large, the spectrum should resemble the normal dye spectrum corresponding to the fluorescent dye used to label the incorporated nucleotide. The spectrum will vary, however, due to the small number of photons that are typically collected by detector 1330 from the single incorporation event in each collection time period.
For example, a fluorescing dye may emit 10,000 photons over a 10 micro second period, and about 4% of the 10,000 photons may be detected by detector 1330 in ten time bins each corresponding to, for example, a one micro second period. Thus, roughly 40 photons may be collected in each time bin. Plotted spectrally over 10 spectral bins, the 40 expected photons might spread out like the histogram shown in
In exemplary embodiments, to avoid a base determination problem caused by a small number of photons from a single incorporation event, the present teaching comprises a method 2000 for base determination illustrated by the flowchart in
Since most of the photons detected during the incorporation time interval T are from a single incorporation event, for each color bin, data associated with the same spectral bin but collected in different time bins in the incorporation time interval can be combined, resulting in increased data points for the spectral bin. The increase in the number of data points leads to an improved multicomponenting process, which is used to convert color data to dye composition. Thus, method 2000 further comprises step 2030 in which data associated with each spectral bin or frequency band of interest but collected in different time bins in the incorporation time interval T are combined, and step 2040 in which the combined data is used in a conventional multicomponenting process to determine a dominant dye, which is used to determine the base being incorporated. Method 2000 further comprises step 2050 in which the residuals of the multicomponenting process is used to determine a confidence level.
Method 2000 for improving the signal to noise ratio by combining data from multiple time bins may be coded as a computer program and executed by computer system 140. Alternatively, since the same algorithm in method 2000 is executed a large number of times, hardware solutions such as field program gate arrays (FPGΛ) or digital signal processors (DSP) 150 and the like can be used to reduce the computation load and data stream size. The FPGAs or DSPs 150 could be integrated in detector(s) 1330, between detector 1330 and computer system 140, as shown in
The foregoing descriptions of specific embodiments of the present teaching have been presented for purposes of illustration and description. They are not intended to be exhaustive or to limit the teaching to the precise forms disclosed, and obviously many modifications and variations are possible in light of the above teaching. The embodiments were chosen and described in order to best explain the principles of the teaching and its practical application, to thereby enable others skilled in the art to best use the teaching and various embodiments with various modifications as are suited to the particular use contemplated. It is intended that the scope of the teaching be defined by the claims appended hereto and their equivalents.