Journal article

Electrokinetic characterization of poly(dimethylsiloxane) microchannels

This paper characterizes the basic electrokinetic phenomena occurring within native poly(dimethylsiloxane) (PDMS) microchannels. Using simple buffers and current measurements, current density and electroosmosis data were determined in trapezoidal, reversibly sealed PDMS/PDMS and hybrid PDMS/glass channels with a cross-sectional area of 1035.5 μm2 and about 6 cm length. This data was then compared to that obtained in an air-thermostated 50 μm inner diameter (1963.5 μm2 cross-sectional area) fused-silica (FS) capillary of 70 cm length. Having a pH 7.8 buffer with an ionic strength (I) of 90 mM, Ohms's law was observed in the microchannels with electric field strengths of up to about 420 V/cm, which is about twice as high as for the FS capillary. The electroosmotic mobility (μEO) in PDMS and FS is shown to exhibit the same general dependences on I and pH. For all configurations tested, the experimentally determined μEO values were found to correlate well with the relationship μEO = a + b log(I), where a and b are coefficients that are determined via nonlinear regression analysis. Electroosmotic fluid pumping in native PDMS also follows a pH dependence that can be estimated with a model based upon the ionization of silanol. Compared to FS, however, the magnitude of the electroosmotic flow in native PDMS is 50-70% smaller over the entire pH range and is difficult to maintain at acidic pH values. Thus, the origin of the negative charge at the inner wall of PDMS, glass, and FS appears to be similar but the density is lower for PDMS than for glass and FS.


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