The utility of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technology is significantly reduced in resource-limited settings partly due to high energy costs associated with thermal cycling. We introduce a solar-powered PCR technique in which sunlight is used to create a specific thermal profile compatible with PCR. We show preliminary results in which genomic DNA extracted from Kaposi’s Sarcoma-associated herpesvirus is amplified. We also characterize the on-chip temperatures under different external temperatures to demonstrate its potential usability over a range of ambient conditions. By circumventing traditional power requirements, solar-powered PCR could help make PCR technology widely available in the developing world.

© 2013 Optical Society of America

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