Polymerase chain reaction (PCR), which uses temperature-cycling techniques employed in DNA analysis, can be handled by STMicroelectronics' prototype DNA analysis device. The chip's excellent thermal properties are extremely useful with PCR, making it better than glass or plastic alternatives. STMicroelectronics used its experience with inkjet printer chips, which combine electronic and fluidic elements, in creating the chip.
The PCR process starts with a prepared DNA sample that's mixed with suitable reagents. The mixture then flows into the buried channels in the chip, where it is repeatedly cycled through three temperatures. This doubles the quantity of DNA with each cycle. The amplified sample then flows into a detection area on the same chip. At that point, gold electrodes are pre-loaded with DNA fragments. The fragments in the sample attach to matching fragments on the electrodes, where they are detected optically.
For more details, go to www.st.com.