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Use of Thin-Film Thermoelectrics in PCR Thermal Cycling

Authored on: May 1, 2013 by Bob Collins

Technical Paper

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Rapid thermal cycling is becoming increasingly important as PCR becomes more widely used in point-of-service, field-level applications. New applications pushing for portability and reduced analysis time offer the promise of large new markets beyond the traditional laboratory and academic settings. In order to meet these requirements, Laird has developed a compact thermal cycler reference design based on the microscopic size and fast response time of thin-film thermoelectrics. Thin-films enable a new generation of compact thermal cyclers that feature significantly shorter throughput times, smaller sample sizes, and reduced footprint for real-time testing in healthcare, forensics, and food safety.
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Terry.Bollinger Posted Sep 3, 2013

I've been tracking the technologies behind micro PCR for years for DoD uses, and this use of the Peltier effect to increase speed and precision in the DNA cycling is impressive. Devices like these have huge implications for any kind of DNA analysis, since the genetic amplification of DNA that PCR makes possible is the enabling step that has made large-scale genetic analysis practical and useful. Considering that PCR originally took hours for each step and had to be done by expert lab technicians, ongoing efforts like this to speed up the process and make it simpler have achieved -- and apparently are continuing to achieve - amazing results. This particular white paper is well-written and provides people unfamiliar with PCR with a good idea of what it is, and how new devices can very directly improve PCR processes.

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LukeGary Posted Dec 21, 2013

A start up called BioMeme has a pretty interesting qPCR device that couples to a smartphone. They even have a video of a 5 year old setting up a test, its pretty funny!

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