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Protein dielectrophoresis using insulator-based microfluidic platforms

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Rapid and reliable separation and analysis of proteins require powerful analytical methods. The analysis of proteins becomes especially challenging when only small sample volumes are available, concomitantly with low concentrations of proteins. Time critical situations pose additional challenges. Due to

Rapid and reliable separation and analysis of proteins require powerful analytical methods. The analysis of proteins becomes especially challenging when only small sample volumes are available, concomitantly with low concentrations of proteins. Time critical situations pose additional challenges. Due to these challenges, conventional macro-scale separation techniques reach their limitations. While microfluidic devices require only pL-nL sample volumes, they offer several advantages such as speed, efficiency, and high throughput. This work elucidates the capability to manipulate proteins in a rapid and reliable manner with a novel migration technique, namely dielectrophoresis (DEP). Since protein analysis can often be achieved through a combination of orthogonal techniques, adding DEP as a gradient technique to the portfolio of protein manipulation methods can extend and improve combinatorial approaches. To this aim, microfluidic devices tailored with integrated insulating obstacles were fabricated to create inhomogeneous electric fields evoking insulator-based DEP (iDEP). A main focus of this work was the development of pre-concentration devices where topological micropost arrays are fabricated using standard photo- and soft lithographic techniques. With these devices, positive DEP-driven streaming of proteins was demonstrated for the first time using immunoglobulin G (IgG) and bovine serum albumin. Experimentally observed iDEP concentrations of both proteins were in excellent agreement with positive DEP concentration profiles obtained by numerical simulations. Moreover, the micropost iDEP devices were improved by introducing nano-constrictions with focused ion beam milling with which numerical simulations suggested enhancement of the DEP effect, leading to a 12-fold increase in concentration of IgG. Additionally, concentration of β-galactosidase was observed, which seems to occur due to an interplay of negative DEP, electroosmosis, electrokinesis, diffusion, and ion concentration polarization. A detailed study was performed to investigate factors influencing protein DEP under DC conditions, including electroosmosis, electrophoresis, and Joule heating. Specifically, temperature rise within the iDEP device due to Joule heating was measured experimentally with spatial and temporal resolution by employing the thermosensitive dye Rhodamine B. Unlike DNA and cells, protein DEP behavior is not well understood to date. Therefore, this detailed study of protein DEP provides novel information to eventually optimize this protein migration method for pre-concentration, separation, and fractionation.

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2014

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Migration for organelles and bacteria in insulator-based microfluidic devices

Description

Efficient separation techniques for organelles and bacteria in the micron- and sub-micron range are required for various analytical challenges. Mitochondria have a wide size range resulting from the sub-populations, some of which may be associated with diseases or aging. However,

Efficient separation techniques for organelles and bacteria in the micron- and sub-micron range are required for various analytical challenges. Mitochondria have a wide size range resulting from the sub-populations, some of which may be associated with diseases or aging. However, traditional methods can often not resolve within-species size variations. Strategies to separate mitochondrial sub-populations by size are thus needed to study the importance of this organelle in cellular functions. Additionally, challenges also exist in distinguishing the sub-populations of bio-species which differ in the surface charge while possessing similar size, such as Salmonella typhimurium (Salmonella). The surface charge of Salmonella wild-type is altered upon environmental stimulations, influencing the bacterial survival and virulence within the host tissue. Therefore, it is important to explore methods to identify the sub-populations of Salmonella.

This work exploits insulator-based dielectrophoresis (iDEP) for the manipulation of mitochondria and Salmonella. The iDEP migration and trapping of mitochondria were investigated under both DC and low-frequency AC conditions, establishing that mitochondria exhibit negative DEP. Also, the first realization of size-based iDEP sorting experiments of mitochondria were demonstrated. As for Salmonella, the preliminary study revealed positive DEP behavior. Distinct trapping potential thresholds were found for the sub-populations with different surface charges.

Further, DEP was integrated with a non-intuitive migration mechanism termed absolute negative mobility (ANM), inducing a deterministic trapping component which allows the directed transport of µm- and sub-µm sized (bio)particles in microfluidic devices with a nonlinear post array under the periodic action of electrokinetic and dielectrophoretic forces. Regimes were revealed both numerically and experimentally in which larger particles migrate against the average applied force, whereas smaller particles show normal response. Moreover, this deterministic ANM (dANM) was characterized with polystyrene beads demonstrating improved migration speed at least two orders of magnitude higher compared to previous ANM systems with similar sized colloids. In addition, dANM was induced for mitochondria with an AC-overlaid waveform representing the first demonstration of ANM migration with biological species. Thus, it is envisioned that the efficient size selectivity of this novel migration mechanism can be employed in nanotechnology, organelle sub-population studies or fractionating protein nanocrystals.

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Date Created
2015

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Design of Metal-Organic Frameworks for Carbon Capture Applications: Approaches for Adsorptive Separation of CO2/N2 and O2/N2 Mixtures

Description

The large-scale anthropogenic emission of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere leads to many unintended consequences, from rising sea levels to ocean acidification. While a clean energy infrastructure is growing, mid-term strategies that are compatible with the current infrastructure should be

The large-scale anthropogenic emission of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere leads to many unintended consequences, from rising sea levels to ocean acidification. While a clean energy infrastructure is growing, mid-term strategies that are compatible with the current infrastructure should be developed. Carbon capture and storage in fossil-fuel power plants is one way to avoid our current gigaton-scale emission of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. However, for this to be possible, separation techniques are necessary to remove the nitrogen from air before combustion or from the flue gas after combustion. Metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) are a relatively new class of porous material that show great promise for adsorptive separation processes. Here, potential mechanisms of O2/N2 separation and CO2/N2 separation are explored.

First, a logical categorization of potential adsorptive separation mechanisms in MOFs is outlined by comparing existing data with previously studied materials. Size-selective adsorptive separation is investigated for both gas systems using molecular simulations. A correlation between size-selective equilibrium adsorptive separation capabilities and pore diameter is established in materials with complex pore distributions. A method of generating mobile extra-framework cations which drastically increase adsorptive selectivity toward nitrogen over oxygen via electrostatic interactions is explored through experiments and simulations. Finally, deposition of redox-active ferrocene molecules into systematically generated defects is shown to be an effective method of increasing selectivity towards oxygen.

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2019