A method for simultaneously concentrating and separating analytes in a buffer-filled microfluidic channel is reported. The approach is based on modulation of the local electric field within the channel and the corresponding opposition of electrophoretic and electroosmotic flow (EOF) velocities. Dye molecules having different electrophoretic mobilities are focused at different locations within the channel where concentration takes place. At least three species, all small dye molecules, can be simultaneously concentrated and separated, with localized enrichment factors up to ∼600 achieved within 400 s. The enrichment zones affect the electric field profile, as evidenced by significant differences in focusing of single versus multiple analytes. The EOF could be modulated by modifying the channel walls with an appropriate polymer, and this had the effect of increasing both the enrichment factors and resolution of the separation. Numerical simulations provide insights into the underlying fundamental principles for the experimental findings.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/robbyn_anand/9/