Polymerase Chain Reaction on Microfluidic Chips


The microfluidic chips hold promise for convenient integration and have the ability to integrate a Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) module to add a critical missing component to the lab-on-a-chip (LOC) toolkit. As a leader in microfluidic chips development, Creative Biolabs has rich experience and an efficient microfluidic technology platform to provide high-quality services related to microfluidic chip design and development for our global customers.

PCR on Microfluidic Chips

The typical method for detecting trace amounts of nucleic acid is to amplify target DNA to a certain amount by using PCR for DNA amplification, followed by quantitative detection. The PCR is the most classical technique for DNA amplification customarily carried out in laboratory-scale PCR cycles with applications ranging from diagnostics, cloning, to sequencing. Nowadays, it is possible to miniaturize the process in microfluidic chips, reducing the cost of fabrication and consumption of biological samples, and also the time of DNA amplification. Moreover, chip-based microfluidic systems are amenable to integrate with other DNA processing and analysis steps. Thus, the integration of microfluidic chips with PCR-based amplification can be broadly used for genetic analysis in the fields of molecular biology and clinical diagnosis to achieve ultrasensitive and rapid detection of trace amounts of nucleic acids.

The benefits of the microfluidic system inherently scale reduction to the analytical method and also have simplicity in function and fabrication, rapid turnaround time, decreased reagent consumption per test for DNA extraction and amplification. The reduced size of microfluidic chips not only enhances amplification speed but also provides dozens of reduction in PCR volume. Consuming less Taq polymerase yields the potential to decrease the cost per test dramatically. Concordantly, the decrease in the number of reagents reduces the hazardous waste that must be disposed of and eliminates possible contamination and error during the extra experimental steps. Furthermore, the system could also display the integration of many reactions from DNA extraction to multiple downstream processes (PCR and electrophoretic analysis) on the same microdevice.

Design of the radial PCR chip. Fig.1 Design of the radial PCR chip. (Schaerli, 2009)

Microfluidic Chips Development for PCR Solution

A successful example of microfluidic chips development for PCR is a high throughput microfluidic device for continuous-flow PCR in water-in-oil droplets of nanoliter volumes. The circular design of the chip allows droplets to pass through alternating temperature and complete 34 cycles of PCR in only a few minutes, avoiding the temperature cycling of the entire device. This system brings together many advances in microfluidics with a small volume to ensure high reaction efficiency and low reagent and sample consumption. The temperatures for the applied temperature PCR protocol can be adjusted; analysis of the product shows that the amplification is specific comparable to a benchtop PCR machine. The high efficiency allows amplification from a single molecule of DNA per droplet to carry robust and reproducible PCR experiments with high efficiency in several potential applications.

Based on an advanced microfluidic technology platform, Creative Biolabs provides the design and development of the microfluidic chips for PCR solutions on-chip, DNA purification, and PCR-based amplification, followed by separation and detection in a manner to create an integrated system with a level of control on the macroscopic scale. Meanwhile, our analytical platform for PCR technology utilizes cost-effective microfluidic chips to reduce reagent consumption by orders of magnitude, provide turnaround times, and offer the potential of rapid, inexpensive on-site screening. It is reasonable to expect that the small microfluidic chips can be assembled around the portable instrumentation to generate a portable handheld system, which will be applicable in several different clinical contexts.

Microfluidic PCR devices provide sample-in and answer-out genetic testing and present substantial opportunities to reduce the cost, size, and energy requirements of diagnostic tools. Along with over years of extensive experience in developing microfluidic chips, scientists at Creative Biolabs are proud to tailor the best-fit microfluidic chips development solutions for PCR to meet our customers' specific project requirements. Please feel free to contact us for more information.


  1. Schaerli, Y.; et al. Continuous-flow polymerase chain reaction of single-copy DNA in microfluidic microdroplets. Analytical chemistry. 2009, 81(1), 302-306.

For Research Use Only. Not For Clinical Use.

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