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Opt Express. 2008 Nov 10;16(23):18782-9.

Preparative optical chromatography with external collection and analysis.

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  • 1Naval Research Laboratory, Chemistry Division, Bio/Analytical Chemistry, Washington, DC 20375, USA. sean.hart@nrl.navy.mil


Optical chromatography, used for particle separation, involves loosely focusing a laser into a fluid flowing opposite the direction of laser propagation. When microscopic particles in the flow path encounter this beam they are trapped axially along the beam and are pushed upstream from the laser focal point to rest at a point where the optical and fluid forces on the particle balance. Because optical and fluid forces are sensitive to differences in the physical and chemical properties of a particle, separations are possible. An optical chromatography beam which completely fills a fluid channel can operate as an optically tunable filter for the preparative separation of polymeric/colloidal and biological samples. We show how the technique can be used to separate injected samples containing large numbers of colloids. The power of optical chromatographic separations is illustrated through combination with epi-fluorescence microscopy and sample purification for real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) detection of Bacillus anthracis spores.

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