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Issue 22, 2010
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A large volume, portable, real-time PCR reactor

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A point-of-care, diagnostic system incorporating a portable thermal cycler and a compact fluorescent detector for real-time, polymerase chain reaction (PCR) on disposable, plastic microfluidic reactors with relatively large reaction volume (ranging from 10 µL to 100 µL) is described. To maintain temperature uniformity and a relatively fast temperature ramping rate, the system utilizes double-sided heater that features a master, thermoelectric element and a thermal waveguide connected to a second thermoelectric element. The waveguide has an aperture for optical coupling between a miniature, fluorescent reader and the PCR reaction chamber. The temperature control is accomplished with a modified, feedforward, variable structural proportional-integral-derivative controller. The temperature of the liquid in the reaction chamber tracks the set-point temperature with an accuracy of ± 0.1 °C. The transition times from one temperature to another are minimized with controllable overshoots (< 2 °C) and undershoots (< 5 °C). The disposable, single-use PCR chip can be quickly inserted into a thermal cycler/reader unit for point-of-care diagnostics applications. The large reaction chamber allows convenient pre-storing of dried, paraffin-encapsulated PCR reagents (polymerase, primers, dNTPs, dyes, and buffers) in the PCR chamber. The reagents are reconstituted “just in time” by heating during the PCR process. The system was tested with viral and bacterial nucleic acid targets.

Graphical abstract: A large volume, portable, real-time PCR reactor

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Supplementary files

Article information

19 May 2010
26 Aug 2010
First published
06 Oct 2010

Lab Chip, 2010,10, 3170-3177
Article type

A large volume, portable, real-time PCR reactor

X. Qiu, M. G. Mauk, D. Chen, C. Liu and H. H. Bau, Lab Chip, 2010, 10, 3170
DOI: 10.1039/C0LC00038H

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