Ultra fast PCR technology

Answers to your questions in minutes not hours


Researchers at Strathclyde are developing an ultra-fast laser PCR technology that can significantly decrease PCR run times from hours down to minutes, shortening the time-to-result for PCR-based applications.   

This technology has the potential to revolutionise PCR which is central to biomolecular research, healthcare diagnostics, and industrial high-throughput nucleic acid amplification applications.


PCR is a method used to amplify small amounts of DNA regions of interest to generate millions of copies to useable or detectable levels. The principle of PCR is based on making copies of DNA regions in an enzymatic reaction, stepping sequentially between two or three incubation temperature stages. This temperature cycling is typically carried out by an automated, self-contained, thermal cycler system, with ramp rates of 1-10 °C/s .   

Our laser-based platform brings near-instantaneous temperature increases of >100 °C/s  enabling very short PCR cycle run times.  In addition our technology, unlike others,  is not constrained by a need for small reaction volumes to achieve these speeds, and is capable of running 10-100μl reaction volumes in industry-standard ANSI/SLAS 200μl PCR tubes utilising off-the-shelf PCR chemistries. We are seeking investment for a Mark-II model to further improve cycle time and incorporate real-time capability.

Key benefits

  • rapid PCR reaction times
  • will incorporate real-time capability
  • uses common low-cost PCR consumables and standard reaction volumes with no change to work practices or need for specialised consumables
  • further optimisation may allow novel PCR chemistries for even greater performance
  • potential to develop portable, low power PCR-based PoC diagnostic systems for a range of environments and applications

Markets & applications

The global PCR market is projected to reach around US $9 billion by 2020, with PCR-based diagnostics expecting particularly rapid growth. The ability to conduct very sensitive, highly specific, and very rapid testing is important to:

  • identifying infectious disease and cancer in the healthcare market
  • advanced safety and quality assurance in the food and agricultural markets
  • environmental testing in industrial markets
  • identifying bioterrorism agents in biotreat markets

Licensing & development

A patent application is planned. We are seeking an investor to accelerate the development of the technology. Contact debbie.stack@strath.ac.uk for further information.