Microfluidic Reactors for Oligonucleotide Synthesis

UAH-P-13001-Microfluidic Reactors for Oligonucleotide Synthesis-01

Docket: UAH-P-13001


Oligonucleotide (oligo) synthesis is a well-characterized and established chemical process that makes single-strand DNA sequences for various biochemical reactions, diagnostic tests, research, gene synthesis, and the production of chemically synthesized proteins. Current commercial processes are optimized for production of between 10,000 and 15,000,000 pmol. At the other end of the spectrum, the process is optimized for femptomole scales of oligos at high levels of efficiency in terms of quantity and raw material costs, but at the expense of quality and usefulness. The typical user of an oligo product only consumes a tiny fraction of the oligos produced. There has been nothing commercially available in the midrange picoscale yield achieving both high quality and a sufficiently usable product until now.

Researchers at UAH have developed a new microfabricated oligo synthesis tool capable of producing 100-500 pmol of oligos at greater than 98% efficiency using proven chemistries. The chemical synthesis is achieved inside a glass microfluidic reactor driven by electroosmotic flow that reduces unwanted mixing of reagents while achieving uniform mixing of desired reagents. In addition, a 16-reaction design is compatible with the existing electronic drive controller, and an in-plane, real-time, optical spectroscopy system provides quality data during the synthesis process. This facilitates an elimination of all current post-processing requirements.

The oligo synthesis pico scale reactor will provide DNA in a format that is immediately usable for any current laboratory processes without further manipulation by the end user.


  • Medicines
  • Microbiology
  • Synthetic biology


  • Portable
  • Cost efficient
  • Reduces unwanted mixing of reactants
  • Makes high purity oligos
  • Can make user-generated proteins not found in nature


  • State of Development: Proof of concept
  • Licensing Status: Available for licensing
  • Patent Status: Patented