Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is an inexpensive and robust technique for amplifying specific segments of DNA for gene analysis, DNA sequencing, DNA profiling, and diagnostic tests. The speed at which PCR can be performed depends on the time required to cycle through temperature dependent steps.

The microfluidic chip for extreme PCR allows for a 1 to 2 second PCR cycle. The chip has one uniform channel through which a PCR mix flows, with a single port acting as both an inlet and outlet. A thermal gradient is introduced across the chip, where one end is at the melting temperature of a target and the other is at the annealing temperature of DNA. The target is amplified after two cycles through the chip and identified on a high resolution melting instrument in roughly one minute. This chip facilitates extreme PCR that is cheap, easy to manufacture, and simple to use.