WARF: P01200US

Method and Device for Controlling Temperature inside Microchannels with Chemical Reactions


David Beebe, Glennys Mensing

The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) is seeking commercial partners interested in developing a method and device for regulating the temperature of a sample fluid inside a microfluidic channel.
OVERVIEWThe various types of chemical and biological experiments conducted within microfluidic devices frequently require controlled temperatures. This currently is accomplished by using external heating or cooling elements, which add significantly to the cost and size of the device.
THE INVENTIONUW-Madison researchers have developed a method and device for regulating the temperature of a sample fluid inside a microfluidic channel. The microfluidic devices of this invention include a channel for the sample fluid and at least one channel containing a regulating fluid at a predetermined temperature. The regulating fluid undergoes heat exchange with the sample fluid to maintain the sample fluid at a desired temperature.

Endothermic or exothermic reactions chemical reactions, such as those used in commercially available hot and cold packs, are used to manipulate the temperature of the regulating fluid. To change the temperature of the sample fluid, the distance, geometries and properties of materials between the sample fluid channel and the regulating channel(s) can be varied. For example, the sample channel can be designed to run alternately near a first regulating channel and then a second, so that the sample fluid changes rapidly between the temperature of the first regulating fluid and that of the second.
  • Controlling the temperature of samples within a microfluidic device
  • Less expensive than current temperature control mechanisms
  • Simple and inexpensive to implement
  • Requires no external power source
  • Highly portable
  • Provides rapid heat exchange
  • Could be incorporated into a self-contained polymerase chain reaction (PCR) device
For More Information About the Inventors
Contact Information
For current licensing status, please contact Jeanine Burmania at or 608-960-9846.
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