Biomedical Microdevices

, 18:62 | Cite as

A disposable, continuous-flow polymerase chain reaction device: design, fabrication and evaluation

  • Victoria Ragsdale
  • Huizhong Li
  • Himanshu Sant
  • Tim Ameel
  • Bruce K. Gale


Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) is used to amplify a specific segment of DNA through a thermal cycling protocol. The PCR industry is shifting its focus away from macro-scale systems and towards micro-scale devices because: micro-scale sample sizes require less blood from patients, total reaction times are on the order of minutes opposed to hours, and there are cost advantages as many microfluidic devices are manufactured from inexpensive polymers. Some of the fastest PCR devices use continuous flow, but they have all been built of silicon or glass to allow sufficient heat transfer. This article presents a disposable polycarbonate (PC) device that is capable of achieving real-time, continuous flow PCR in a completely disposable polymer device in less than 13 minutes by thermally cycling the sample through an established temperature gradient in a serpentine channel. The desired temperature gradient was determined through simulations and validated by experiments which showed that PCR was achieved. Practical demonstration included amplification of foot-and-mouth disease virus (FMDV) derived cDNA.


PCR Microfluidics Continuous flow Heat transfer Polycarbonate 



The authors would like to acknowledge Carl Wittwer and his laboratory for help with PCR testing. We also acknowledge Indian Immunologicals Ltd. Hyderabad, India for partial funding towards testing of the microfluidic PCR chip and FMDV viral culture.

Compliance with ethical standards


This study was partially funded by Indian Immunological Ltd., Hyderabad, India.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Victoria Ragsdale
    • 1
  • Huizhong Li
    • 2
  • Himanshu Sant
    • 2
  • Tim Ameel
    • 2
  • Bruce K. Gale
    • 2
  1. 1.Sandia National LaboratoriesAlbuquerqueUSA
  2. 2.Department of Mechanical EngineeringUniversity of UtahSalt Lake CityUSA

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