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Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) on a microchip has drawn considerable attention in recent years. Although a microchip can have much fast heating and cooling rate, the delicacy in its structure makes the PCR experiment difficult and cracks often occurs particularly for the thin membrane type of PCR chips. Electrothermal modelling of PCR chips is presented using commercial MEMS software tool IntelliSuiteTM, with the aim of identifying the problems encountered in experiment and funding an optimum chip structure. Heating characteristics of four different heater designs have been compared, so have the PCR chambers with fixed frame and with suspended frame. The thermal stress analysis has shown that the structure and heater design can make significant difference in heating characteristics and in reducing the failure of PCR chips. The computer simulation has confirmed what has been found in experiment the reason of membrane cracks. Improvement in PCR chip design has been proposed.

Original publication




Journal article


Proceedings of SPIE-The International Society for Optical Engineering

Publication Date





275 - 280