This technology automates the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) process using digital microfluidics for droplet manipulation. The invention also increases PCR speed and efficiency by combining electrowetting and plasmonic heating in a single device.
PCR tests have a wide variety of applications, including the diagnosis of infectious organisms such as viruses and bacterias, as well as cloning, mutagenesis, sequencing, gene expression, and more. The test has become a gold standard for detecting SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. In the PCR process, a gene or part of the DNA of the infecting organism is amplified exponentially to the extent that it can be detected using conventional methods like gel electrophoresis. This invention addresses the following challenges in current PCR methods: a long sample to answer time; and manual manipulation by humans, which increases the error rate in the tests.
This technology increases the speed and efficiency of the polymerous chain reaction (PCR) by improving temperature change and heat transfer rates. The amplification improvements are achieved by combining electrowetting and plasmonic heating in one device.
In addition, the chips in the device can be manufactured inexpensively, with a recyclable nanometer-thick layer of gold.
Suggested uses include:
- Fast disease diagnosis (i.e., Covid-19 tests)
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