Effect of materials for micro-electro-mechanical systems on PCR yield

Cristina Potrich, Lorenzo Lunelli, Stefania Forti, Diego Vozzi, Laura Pasquardini, Lia Vanzetti, Cristina Panciatichi, Mariano Anderle, Cecilia Pederzolli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this study we analyzed the surface properties of different silicon-based materials used for micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) production, such as thermally grown silicon oxide, plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition (PECVD)-treated silicon oxide, reactive-ion etch (RIE)-treated silicon oxide, and Pyrex. Substrates were characterized by atomic force microscopy (AFM) and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) to define the surface chemical and morphological properties, and by fluorescence microscopy to directly assess the absorption of the different polymerase chain reaction (PCR) components. By using microchips fabricated with the same materials we investigated their compatibility with PCR reactions, exploiting the use of different enzymes and reagents or proper surface treatments. We established the best conditions for DNA amplification in silicon/Pyrex microdevices depending on the type of device and fabrication method used and the quality of reagents, rather than on the passivation treatment or increment in standard Taq polymerase concentration.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)979-986
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Biophysics Journal
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - May 2010


  • PCR
  • Silicon microchip
  • Surface interactions
  • Taq polymerase adhesion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics


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