This paper outlines an optothermal approach to manipulate local fluid temperatures in microfluidic and lab-on-chip systems. The system has the ability to control the size, location and the source heat flux using an external computer and is not constrained by predefined geometries, complex fabrication or control system. The thermal performance is evaluated using a temperature-dependent fluorescent dye. Experiments demonstrate localized heating up to 35°C over ambient temperature for a heat source spanning a downstream length of 1.5 mm. Experimental results are compared with a 1D thermal analysis of the system based on the Taylor-Aris dispersion.

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