A method of synthesis for building a polymer chain, oligonucleotides in particular, by sequentially adding monomer units to at least one solid support for growing and immobilizing a polymer chain thereon in a liquid reagent solution. The method includes the step of: A) depositing a liquid reagent in a reaction well (26) in contact with at least one solid support and at least one monomer unit of the polymer chain affixed to the solid support. The well (26) includes at least one orifice (74) extending into the well (26), and is of a size and dimension to form a capillary liquid seal to retain the reagent solution in the well (26) to enable polymer chain growth on the solid support. The method further includes the step of B) expelling the reagent solution from the well (26), while retaining the polymer chain therein. This is accomplished by applying a first gas pressure to the reaction well such that a pressure differential between the first gas pressure and a second gas pressure exerted on an exit (80) of the orifice (74) exceeds a predetermined amount sufficient to overcome the capillary liquid seal and expel the reagent solution from the well (26) through the orifice exit (80).
This invention was made with Government support under contract DOE LBL 4437-10 awarded by the Department of Energy and contract 3POI HG00205-0251 awarded by the National Institutes of Health. The Government has a certain rights in this invention.