Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry

, Volume 395, Issue 3, pp 621–636 | Cite as

Emerging optofluidic technologies for point-of-care genetic analysis systems: a review

  • Desmond BrennanEmail author
  • John Justice
  • Brian Corbett
  • Tommie McCarthy
  • Paul Galvin


This review describes recently emerging optical and microfluidic technologies suitable for point-of-care genetic analysis systems. Such systems must rapidly detect hundreds of mutations from biological samples with low DNA concentration. We review optical technologies delivering multiplex sensitivity and compatible with lab-on-chip integration for both tagged and non-tagged optical detection, identifying significant source and detector technology emerging from telecommunications technology. We highlight the potential for improved hybridization efficiency through careful microfluidic design and outline some novel enhancement approaches using target molecule confinement. Optimization of fluidic parameters such as flow rate, channel height and time facilitates enhanced hybridization efficiency and consequently detection performance as compared with conventional assay formats (e.g. microwell plates). We highlight lab-on-chip implementations with integrated microfluidic control for “sample-to-answer” systems where molecular biology protocols to realize detection of target DNA sequences from whole blood are required. We also review relevant technology approaches to optofluidic integration, and highlight the issue of biomolecule compatibility. Key areas in the development of an integrated optofluidic system for DNA hybridization are optical/fluidic integration and the impact on biomolecules immobilized within the system. A wide range of technology platforms have been advanced for detection, quantification and other forms of characterization of a range of biomolecules (e.g. RNA, DNA, protein and whole cell). Owing to the very different requirements for sample preparation, manipulation and detection of the different types of biomolecules, this review is focused primarily on DNA–DNA interactions in the context of point-of-care analysis systems.


Microfluidics Optical detection DNA Surface chemistry 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Desmond Brennan
    • 1
    Email author
  • John Justice
    • 1
  • Brian Corbett
    • 1
  • Tommie McCarthy
    • 2
  • Paul Galvin
    • 1
  1. 1.Tyndall National InstituteCo. CorkIreland
  2. 2.Department of BiochemistryUniversity College, CorkCo. CorkIreland

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