Microfabricated structures for integrated DNA analysis

Mark A. Burns, Carlos H. Mastrangelo, Timothy S. Sammarco, Francis P. Man, James R. Webster, Brian N. Johnson, Bradley Foerster, Darren Jones, Yakeitha Fields, Adam R. Kaiser, David T. Burke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

258 Scopus citations


Photolithographic micromachining of silicon is a candidate technology for the construction of high-throughput DNA analysis devices. However, the development of complex silicon microfabricated systems has been hindered in part by the lack of a simple) versatile pumping method for integrating individual components. Here we describe a surface-tension-based pump able to move discrete nanoliter drops through enclosed channels using only local heating. This thermocapillary pump can accurately mix, measure, and divide drops by simple electronic control. In addition, we have constructed thermal- cycling chambers, gel electrophoresis channels, and radiolabeled DNA detectors that are compatible with the fabrication of thermocapillary pump channels. Since all of the components are made by conventional photolithographic techniques, they can be assembled into more complex integrated systems. The combination of pump and components into self- contained miniaturized devices may provide significant improvements in DNA analysis speed, portability, and cost. The potential of microfabricated systems lies in the low unit cost of silicon-based construction and in the efficient sample handling afforded by component integration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5556-5561
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number11
StatePublished - May 28 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • PCR
  • silicon fabrication
  • thermocapillary pump

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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