Natural convection is the driver of innumerable natural world phenomena. Within the laboratory, it offers simplified geometries and flow structures without the need for auxiliary flow inducement, thereby greatly reducing the risk of external contamination within biomedical applications. Outlined in this paper is a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) device which takes advantage of these distinct qualities. PCR has become synonymous with DNA amplification in molecular biology laboratories throughout the world, and at the heart of PCR is thermal cycling. Commonly PCR is accomplished utilising a three stage thermal cycle, however, the device presented employs an alternative two stage cycle which facilitates a simplified natural convection flow structure. The device is, in its fundamental design format, a well-based thermocycler with fast reaction times of 15 minutes. Through the use of Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV) and flow visualisation techniques, a better understanding of the flow structures and their effect on PCR is attained within a device of dimensions of 1 mm depth by 10mm width and 10mm height. This device may present an opportunity for the development of a practical and inexpensive single gene diagnostic tool. Presented here are the findings of the amplification of an 86-bp fragment of the pGEM®-T vector (Promega) within the convective flow loop.

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