Adapting electrophoretic exclusion to a microdevice
Complex samples, such as those from biological sources, contain valuable information indicative of the state of human health. These samples, though incredibly valuable, are difficult to analyze. Separation science is often used as the first step when studying these samples. Electrophoretic exclusion is a novel separations technique that differentiates species in bulk solution. Due to its ability to isolate species in bulk solution, it is uniquely suited to array-based separations for complex sample analysis. This work provides proof of principle experimental results and resolving capabilities of the novel technique. Electrophoretic exclusion is demonstrated at a single interface on both benchtop and microscale device designs. The benchtop instrument recorded absorbance measurements in a 365 μL reservoir near a channel entrance. Results demonstrated the successful exclusion of a positively-charged dye, methyl violet, with various durations of applied potential (30 - 60 s). This was the first example of measuring absorbance at the exclusion location. A planar, hybrid glass/PDMS microscale device was also constructed. One set of experiments employed electrophoretic exclusion to isolate small dye molecules (rhodamine 123) in a 250 nL reservoir, while another set isolated particles (modified polystyrene microspheres). Separation of rhodamine 123 from carboxylate-modified polystyrene spheres was also shown. These microscale results demonstrated the first example of the direct observation of exclusion behavior. Furthermore, these results showed that electrophoretic exclusion can be applicable to a wide range of analytes. The theoretical resolving capabilities of electrophoretic exclusion were also developed. Theory indicates that species with electrophoretic mobilities as similar as 10-9 cm2/Vs can be separated using electrophoretic exclusion. These results are comparable to those of capillary electrophoresis, but on a very different format. This format, capable of isolating species in bulk solution, coupled with the resolving capabilities, makes the technique ideal for use in a separations-based array.