Micro free-flow electrophoresis (μFFE) is a unique separation technique because of its continuous nature. Analytes are pressure driven through a planar separation channel, and an electric field applied laterally to the flow producing a spatial separation. Fabrication methods associated with μFFE devices hinder our ability to address the limitations of μFFE. This work focuses on a novel fabrication method to reduce the overall fabrication cost and time, followed by validating and characterizing the device. A novel μFFE device is fabricated in acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) by 3D printing two sides of the device and then acetone vapor bonding them while simultaneously inserting electrodes and clarifying the device. Fluorescent dyes are separated, and their limit of detection determined. After validation of the new fabrication method, a new device design is made with the sample inlet modified so that 2D nLC × μFFE separations can be performed. 2D nLC × μFFE separations of fluorescent dyes, proteins, and tryptic BSA digest are demonstrated. These samples allow comparison between the surface properties of glass and 3D printed devices. Peak asymmetries, widths, and the interface were investigated. Minimal surface adsorption is observed for fluorescent dyes, proteins, and peptides, unlike in glass devices. After investigating surface properties, an open edge device for coupling to mass spectrometry is designed and compared to its glass counterpart. A novel ionization method is demonstrated from a hydrophobic membrane and the open edge device is shown to have stable flow.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. February 2017. Major: Chemistry. Advisor: Michael Bowser. 1 computer file (PDF); xiv, 96 pages.
Development, Characterization, and Applications of a 3D Printed micro Free-Flow Electrophoresis Device.
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