A review on continuous-flow microfluidic PCR in droplets: advances, challenges and future

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Significant advances have been made in developing microfluidic polymerase chain reaction (PCR) devices in the last two decades. More recently, microfluidic microdroplet technology has been exploited to perform PCR in droplets because of its unique features. For example, it can prevent crossover contamination and PCR inhibition, is suitable for single-cell and single molecule analyses, and has the potential for system integration and automation. This review will therefore focus on recent developments on droplet-based continuous-flow microfluidic PCR, and the major research challenges. This paper will also discuss a new way of on-chip flow control and a rational design simulation tool, which are required to underpin fully integrated and automated droplet-based microfluidic systems. We will conclude with a scientific speculation of future autonomous scientific discoveries enabled by microfluidic microdroplet technologies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7-16
Number of pages10
JournalAnalytica Chimica Acta
Early online date13 Feb 2016
Publication statusPublished - 31 Mar 2016



  • PCR
  • microfluidics
  • DNA amplification
  • microdroplet technology
  • droplet intelligence

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