Fluorescence detection in Lab-on-a-chip systems using ultrafast nucleic acid amplification methods
Today, nucleic amplification plays a key role in modern molecular biology allowing fast and specific laboratory diagnostics testing. An ultrafast microfluidic module (allowing 30 polymeric chain reaction (PCR) cycles in 6 minutes) based on an oscillating fluid plug concept was previously developed. This system allows the amplification of native genomic deoxyribonucleic acid molecules (DNA) even from whole blood samples but still lacks some functionality compared to commercial bench top systems. This work presents the actual status of the renewed and advanced system, permitting the automated optical detection of not only the fluid plug position but also fluorescence detection. The system uses light emitting diodes (LED) for illumination and a low cost CMOS web-camera for optical detection. Image data processing allows the automated process control of the overall system components. Therefore, the system enables the performance of rapid and robust nucleic acid amplifications together with the integration of real time measurement technology. This allows the amplification and simultaneous quantification of the DNA molecules. The possibility to integrate swift nucleic amplification and optical detection into complex sample-to-answer analysis platforms opens up new pathways towards fast and transportable low-cost point of care devices.