Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

On chip separation: large molecules pass the speed camera first

10.12.2002


What molecule or particle passes the finishline first? A good way to split a fluid sample into its separate parts is: organize a contest in a micro-channel. The largest parts will pass the optical detector first, the smaller ones follow at short distance. This principle of ‘hydrodynamic chromatography’ is now also possible on a chip. ‘On-chip’ separation is faster, needs tiny samples and uses minimum of harmful solvents. Marko Blom developed this separation chip within the MESA+ research institute of the University of Twente. He presents his PhD-work on December 13, 2002.



The separation channel Blom has developed is not deeper than one micron, it is one millimeter in width and some six to eight centimeters long. It has been fabricated in silicon or silicate glass. Thanks to this compact geometry, the separation is fast: bigger molecules move faster, smaller ones follow. A light-sensitive cell detects the fastest ones first. Colour characteristics provide additional information about the particle or molecule: therefore at the start of the ‘race’, fluorescent markers can be added to the fluid, for example.

Hydrodynamic chromatography (HDC) is a well-known separation technique for particles and large molecules, but the resolution of current methods is far from optimal. HDC is usually applied in a fluid column, filled with non-porous particles that create, with the tiny spaces inbetween, the same effect as a narrow channel. On-chip separation results in a better resolution because the geometry is better defined than the pores between the particles in a conventional column, that are divided in a rather arbitrary way. Within just a few minutes Blom can, for example, fully separate little polystyrene balls. The new chip is particularly interesting for analysis of large molecules like polymers. For biomolecules, it works as well: for example analysis of DNA-components.


Lab-on-chip
A microsystem like this new separation chip has more advantages than the ones mentioned above: it is possible to add all kinds of functionality. It is not just the separation itself that takes place on-chip, but also detection and fluid preparation can be done. Blom has built a with a viscosity sensor: a small bridge over the channel slightly disturbs the fluid. The difference in pressure can be detected optically. The system is a new lab-on-chip, systems that are for large amounts of analyses at the same time.

Blom’s research is part of the research orientation MicroChemical Systems, within the MESA+ research institute of the University of Twente in The Netherlands (www.mesaplus.utwente.nl). It has been financially supported by the Dutch Technology Foundation STW (www.stw.nl). Blom has done his research in close cooperation with the Polymer Analysis group of the University of Amsterdam.

Wiebe van der Veen | alfa

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Individual Receptors Caught at Work
19.10.2017 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg

nachricht Rapid environmental change makes species more vulnerable to extinction
19.10.2017 | Universität Zürich

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Electrode materials from the microwave oven

19.10.2017 | Materials Sciences

New material for digital memories of the future

19.10.2017 | Materials Sciences

Physics boosts artificial intelligence methods

19.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>