Researchers at LLNL have developed an instantaneous sample heating method to efficiently deposit thermal energy into a continuous stream or segmented microdroplets on a MOEMS device using an optimally low energy, commercially available CO2 laser. The device uses an ideal wavelength (absorption in the far infra-red (FIR) region (λ=10.6 μm)) to instantaneously heat fluidic partitions. The wavelength is absorbed by water molecules and waste little energy because, unlike typical PCR heating elements, the device itself is not heated by the laser. Instead the aqueous solution directly absorbs the heat. This technology is a major improvement over current microfluidic channel heating methods. The use of efficient optical heating elements increases precision and provides users with a cost effective, high-throughput PCR device. It cuts processing time by an order of magnitude resulting in truly real time PCR, in vitro protein translation, immunoassay analysis, etc.
US Patents 8,367,976 and 8,610,032 “Laser heating of aqueous samples on a micro-optical-electro-mechanical system” (LLNL internal case # IL-11719).