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Lab Chip. 2008 Oct;8(10):1625-31. doi: 10.1039/b805768k. Epub 2008 Aug 8.

Electrokinetically driven fluidic transport in integrated three-dimensional microfluidic devices incorporating gold-coated nanocapillary array membranes.

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Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN 46556, USA.


Electrokinetically driven fluid transport was evaluated within three-dimensional hybrid nanofluidic-microfluidic devices incorporating Au-coated nanocapillary array membranes (NCAMs). Gold NCAMs, prepared by electroless gold deposition on polymeric track-etched membranes, were susceptible to gas bubble formation if the interfacial potential difference exceeded approximately 2 V along the length of the gold region. Gold membranes were etched to yield 250 microm wide coated regions that overlap the intersection of two orthogonal microfluidic channels in order to minimize gas evolution. The kinetics of electrolysis of water at the opposing ends of the gold region was modeled and found to be in satisfactory agreement with experimental measurements of the onset of gas bubble formation. Conditions to achieve electrokinetic injection across Au-coated NCAMs were identified, with significant reproducible injections being possible for NCAMs modified with this relatively thin gold stripe. Continuous gold films led to suppressed injections and to a variety of ion enrichment/depletion effects in the microfluidic source channel. The suppression of injections was understood through finite element modeling which revealed the presence of a significant electrophoretic velocity component in opposition to electroosmotic flow at the edge of the Au-dielectric regions.

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