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Issue 16, 2011
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A self-heating cartridge for molecular diagnostics

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A disposable, water-activated, self-heating, easy-to-use, polymeric cartridge for isothermal nucleic acid amplification and visual fluorescent detection of the amplification products is described. The device is self-contained and does not require any special instruments to operate. The cartridge integrates chemical, water-triggered, exothermic heating with temperature regulation facilitated with a phase-change material (PCM) and isothermal nucleic acid amplification. The water flows into the exothermic reactor by wicking through a porous paper. The porous paper's characteristics control the rate of water supply, which in turn controls the rate of exothermic reaction. The PCM material enables the cartridge to maintain a desired temperature independent of ambient temperatures in the range between 20 °C and 40 °C. The utility of the cartridge is demonstrated by amplifying and detecting Escherichia coli DNA with loop mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP). The device can detect consistently as few as 10 target molecules in the sample. With proper modifications, the cartridge also can work with other isothermal nucleic acid amplification technologies for detecting nucleic acids associated with various pathogens borne in blood, saliva, urine, and other body fluids as well as in water and food. The device is suitable for use at home, in the field, and in poor-resource settings, where access to sophisticated laboratories is impractical, unaffordable, or nonexistent.

Graphical abstract: A self-heating cartridge for molecular diagnostics

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Supplementary files

Article information

24 Apr 2011
31 May 2011
First published
06 Jul 2011

Lab Chip, 2011,11, 2686-2692
Article type

A self-heating cartridge for molecular diagnostics

C. Liu, M. G. Mauk, R. Hart, X. Qiu and H. H. Bau, Lab Chip, 2011, 11, 2686
DOI: 10.1039/C1LC20345B

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