On-chip electrophoresis devices: do’s, don’ts and dooms

Juan Santiago and co-workers provide some simple rules of thumb for success in on-chip electrophoresis

Alexandre Persat, Tom Zangle, Jonathan Posner and Juan Santiago
Stanford Microfluidics Laboratory, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Stanford University, Stanford, CA


On-chip electrokinetic injections and on-chip electrophoresis are well-established techniques, and the field is about 15 years old [1].The techniques for on-chip sample loading, voltage control, injection, separation, visualization, and electropherogram detection have been described in numerous publications [2, 3]; a few of these are summarized by Sharp et al. [4].

Below we present a few informal “tips” listed under various categories that we hope may be useful to new users of this technology.  These instructions are in no way comprehensive, are not even quantitative, but we hope they will save someone somewhere some time.


1. A. Manz, D. J. Harrison, E. M. J. Verpoorte, J. C. Fettinger, A. Paulus, H. Ludi and H. M. Widmer, J. Chromatogr., 1992, 593(1-2), 253-258.
2. A. Manz, C. S. Effenhauser, N. Burggraf, D. J. Harrison, K. Seiler and K. Fluri, J. Micromech. Microeng., 1994, 4(4), 257-265.
3. G. J. M. Bruin, Electrophoresis, 2000, 21(18), 3931-3951.
4. K. V. Sharp, R. J. Adrian, J. G. Santiago and J. I. Molho, “Liquid Flows in Microchannels” (updated), in CRC Handbook of MEMS, CRC Press, 2006, Boca Raton, Florida, USA.

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