Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) is a great and commonly used method in the medical and biological fields. This method allows for the copy of millions of specific segments of DNA. Due to its impact, new PCR analysis of DNA samples are being implemented all the time. However, in the biomedical field, multiple biological and/or biochemical tests are often required for making a patient diagnosis. Each test may require one or more different reagents, enzymes, or biosamples, which increases the time of diagnosis and the cost of the treatment. The invention described here embodies a planar integrated optical system for bringing excitation or observation light into the sample wells and extracting, filtering and detecting the fluorescence spectrum. This integrated approach allows many sample wells to be simultaneously run at the same time while maintaining a small form factor and inexpensive manufacturable method.


The art described here incorporates a planar integrated optical system that allows for multiple biochemical assays to be run at the same time or nearly the same time. Briefly, each assay can include one or more tags (e.g. dyes, other chemicals, reagents) whose optical characteristics change based on chemical characteristics of the biological sample being tested. Each sample, that has been tagged with a dye, may be pumped by different wavelengths of light and may produce different wavelengths of light that are filtered and detected by one or more detectors. This apparatus may be compact in size and suitable for a hand held, hand carried, or smaller bioassay system.

As shown in the figure, the optical assembly is divided into two sub-systems. The optical substrate serves to distribute and inject light into the sample wells, collect any emitted luminescent light, and direct the light toward the filter and detection layer. The filter and detection layer are comprised of the filter and detection circuit. The filter layer utilizes thin-film color filters and an array of large area photodetectors. The detection layer replaces the color filter with a diffractive optic and replaces the photodetectors with a 2D array of charge coupled or CMOS based detectors.

  • Compact in size and suitable for a hand held bioassay system
  • Allows for multiple biochemical assays to be run at the same time or nearly the same time
  • Low cost
Potential Applications
  • Biodetection
  • Food Safety
  • Medical Diagnostics
  • Agricultural Engineering
  • Cell sequencing
  • PCR
Development Status

LLNL has filed a patent application (US Patent Publication 2020/0033328) covering this technology (LLNL Internal Case # IL-12523)

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