A Prototype Continuous Flow Polymerase Chain Reaction LTCC Device

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There is a growing need for remote biological sensing in both laboratory and harsh field environments. Sensing and detection of biological entities such as anthrax, Ebola and other micro-organisms of interest involves sampling of the environment, amplification, analysis and identification of the target DNA. A key component of such a sensor is a low cost, portable, reusable, continuous flow polymerase chain reaction (PCR) thermal cycler. Fabrication with low temperature co-fired ceramics (LTCC) can provide a reusable low cost device capable of operating in a wide range of environments.

The design and manufacture of a prototype continuous flow micro-fluidic PCR device using low temperature co-fired ceramic is presented. Initial modeling of flow characteristics and heat transfer was carried out in SolidWorks™. The prototype device employs resistance heaters below the channels, buried and surface thermocouples for temperature monitoring, and air gaps for thermal isolation.