, Volume 13, Issue 1, pp 19-27

A multilevel Lab on chip platform for DNA analysis

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Abstract

Lab-on-chips (LOCs) are critical systems that have been introduced to speed up and reduce the cost of traditional, laborious and extensive analyses in biological and biomedical fields. These ambitious and challenging issues ask for multi-disciplinary competences that range from engineering to biology. Starting from the aim to integrate microarray technology and microfluidic devices, a complex multilevel analysis platform has been designed, fabricated and tested (All rights reserved—IT Patent number TO2009A000915). This LOC successfully manages to interface microfluidic channels with standard DNA microarray glass slides, in order to implement a complete biological protocol. Typical Micro Electro Mechanical Systems (MEMS) materials and process technologies were employed. A silicon/glass microfluidic chip and a Polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) reaction chamber were fabricated and interfaced with a standard microarray glass slide. In order to have a high disposable system all micro-elements were passive and an external apparatus provided fluidic driving and thermal control. The major microfluidic and handling problems were investigated and innovative solutions were found. Finally, an entirely automated DNA hybridization protocol was successfully tested with a significant reduction in analysis time and reagent consumption with respect to a conventional protocol.