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New Miniaturized Device for Lab-on-a-Chip Separations
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New Miniaturized Device for Lab-on-a-Chip Separations

New Miniaturized Device for Lab-on-a-Chip Separations
News

New Miniaturized Device for Lab-on-a-Chip Separations

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Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have developed an elegantly simple, miniaturized technique for separating minute samples of proteins, amino acids and other chemical mixtures.

A prototype device can run up to eight separations simultaneously in a space about the size of a quarter, highlighting the technique's potential for use in microfluidic lab-on-a-chip systems.

The NIST technique, "gradient elution moving boundary electrophoresis" (GEMBE), works by opposing the movement of the mixture's components with a stream of buffering solution flowing at a variable rate.

GEMBE is suited for use in microfluidic lab-on-a-chip devices. Components are selected by buffer flow-rate rather than distance, so the channel can be very short--less than a centimeter in NIST prototypes.

The technique has been validated at NIST with separations ranging from small dye molecules and amino acids to larger biomolecules, such as DNA. A prototype eight-channel GEMBE device built at NIST can produce a complete immunoassay calibration curve for insulin in a single run. NIST is applying for a patent on the method.

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