Tilted hexagonal post arrays: DNA electrophoresis in anisotropic media

Zhen Chen, Kevin D. Dorfman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Using Brownian dynamics simulations, we show that DNA electrophoresis in a hexagonal array of micron-sized posts changes qualitatively when the applied electric field vector is not coincident with the lattice vectors of the array. DNA electrophoresis in such "tilted" post arrays is superior to the standard "un-tilted" approach; while the time required to achieve a resolution of unity in a tilted post array is similar to an un-tilted array at a low-electric field strengths, this time (i) decreases exponentially with electric field strength in a tilted array and (ii) increases exponentially with electric field strength in an un-tilted array. Although the DNA dynamics in a post array are complicated, the electrophoretic mobility results indicate that the "free path," i.e. the average distance of ballistic trajectories of point-sized particles launched from random positions in the unit cell until they intersect the next post, is a useful proxy for the detailed DNA trajectories. The analysis of the free path reveals a fundamental connection between anisotropy of the medium and DNA transport therein that goes beyond simply improving the separation device.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)405-411
Number of pages7
Issue number2-3
StatePublished - Feb 2014


  • Brownian dynamics
  • DNA electrophoresis
  • Microfluidics
  • Post array


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