Infoscience

Journal article

A microchip electrophresis system with integrated in-plane electrodes for contactless conductivity detection

We present a new approach for contactless conductivity detection for microchip-based capillary electrophoresis (CE). The detector integrates easily with well-known microfabrication techniques for glass-based microfluidic devices. Platinum electrodes are structured in recesses in-plane with the microchannel network after glass etching, which allows precise positioning and batch fabrication of the electrodes. A thin glass wall of 10-15 μm separates the electrodes and the buffer electrolyte in the separation channel to achieve the electrical insulation necessary for contactless operation. The effective separation length is 34 mm, with a channel width of 50 μm and depth of 12 μm. Microchip CE devices with conductivity detection were characterized in terms of sensitivity and linearity of response, and were tested using samples containing up to three small cations. The limit of detection for K+ (18 μm) is good, though an order of magnitude higher than for comparable capillary-based systems and one recently reported example of contactless conductivity on chip. However, an integrated field-amplified stacking step could be employed prior to CE to preconcentrate the sample ions by a factor of four.

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