Nanogap DNA measurement: a truly disruptive innovation

Quantum Sequencing™

Single Molecule Electronic Detection

A critical issue in medical research is the need for ultra-high-speed analysis of DNA sequences and ultra-sensitive, ultra-fast detection of viruses and allergens such as pollen. However, even leading global companies have so far been unable to develop the next-generation technology required to implement this.

The new technology we have developed—based on a gating-nanopore method, using tunneling current measurement—has the potential to change that. The U.S. National Institute of Health (NIH) has stated that our technology could lead to breakthroughs in ultra-high speed and ultra-sensitivity analysis that will never be possible using existing technologies.

Single molecule electronic detection provides the ultimate methodology for genome analysis. Our technology identifies base molecules by measuring tunnel current through nano-electrodes as DNA/RNA passes through nanogaps, and by calculating the current difference. Each chip has a nanogap through which only a single strand of DNA or RNA passes, and the device uses nanoelectrodes (one molecule-wide gap between electrodes) to measure tunnel current.

Why it’s so innovative

Bias free (PCR free)

The polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplifies one or several copies of a piece of DNA by several orders of magnitude, to generate up to millions of copies of that DNA sequence. However, this reaction can cause mutations as the enzymes copy sequences. Current DNA sequencing technology depends on PCR, resulting in inherent accuracy issues due to PCR generated errors. Our system eliminates the need to use PCR.

High throughput

Our integrated nano-chip system can analyze multiple fragments simultaneously enabling high-throughput. Analyzing the same bases multiple times at very high speed using tunnel current reduces errors and achieves high sequencing accuracy. The extremely high throughput of our technology will enormously increase the accuracy of sequencing.


Using tunnel current to identify bases also allows us to analyze base modifications such as DNA methylation, since modified and unmodified bases have different tunnel currents. The ability to do this is a crucial requirement in epigenetics, and yet current DNA sequencing methodology cannot directly identify base modifications. Our technology will make possible personal genome sequencing over the course of a person’s lifetime.

Low cost

Our technology does not require pre-treatments such as labeling, PCR, or detection with fluorescent reagents, which are widely used in current DNA sequencing. In addition, our nano chips are semiconductors that can be mass-produced at low cost. The result will be a dramatic reduction in the price of DNA sequencing, putting genetic sequencing within the reach of the individual.

Original Inventor – Osaka University

Professor Tomoji Kawai of Osaka University is Quantum Biosystems’ lead scientific advisor. He has worked toward the development of a fourth generation DNA/RNA sequencer within the Funding Program for World-Leadng Innovative R&D on Science and Technology (FIRST) project.
Unlike currently used sequencers, this fourth generation sequencer will work at the ultimate level of single molecule detection.
Last year, Professor Kawai’s project team successfully demonstrated the principle, paving the way to practical applications.
DNA sequencer researchers and engineers worldwide are closely following this project’s results.
Quantum Biosystems is a biotech start-up of Osaka University, founded with the goal of finding rapid practical applications for the FIRST project’s research findings.


Funding Program for World-Leading Innovative R&D on Science and Technology
-Innovative NanoBiodevice based on Single Molecule Analysis-