Separation mechanisms underlying vector chromatography in microlithographic arrays

Kevin D. Dorfman, Howard Brenner

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14 Scopus citations


Micropatterned chips possessing an asymmetric, spatially periodic array of obstacles enable the vector (directional) chromatographic separation of charged particles animated by an external electric field. We apply a network theory to analyze the chip-scale (L-scale) transport of finite-size Brownian particles in such devices and identify those factors that break the symmetry of the chip-scale particle mobility tensor, most importantly the hydrodynamic wall effects between the particles and the obstacle surfaces. Our analysis contrasts with prevailing separation theories, which are limited to effectively point-size particles, for which wall effects are negligible. These theories require a biasing of obstacle-scale (l-scale; l≪L) bifurcation branches within the network. Such bifurcations are shown to constitute but one factor in modeling the vector chromatography of finite-size particles, and not necessarily the dominant factor.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number052103
JournalPhysical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2002

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