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Electrophoresis. 2011 Feb;32(3-4):333-9. doi: 10.1002/elps.201000643. Epub 2010 Dec 30.

Fully integrated PDMS/SU-8/quartz microfluidic chip with a novel macroporous poly dimethylsiloxane (PDMS) membrane for isoelectric focusing of proteins using whole-channel imaging detection.

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Department of Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, ON, Canada.


A fully integrated polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS)/modified PDMS membrane/SU-8/quartz hybrid chip was developed for protein separation using isoelectric focusing (IEF) mechanism coupled with whole-channel imaging detection (WCID) method. This microfluidic chip integrates three components into one single chip: (i) modified PDMS membranes for separating electrolytes in the reservoirs from the sample in the microchannel and thus reducing pressure disturbance, (ii) SU-8 optical slit to block UV light (below 300 nm) outside the channel aiming to increase detection sensitivity, and (iii) injection and discharge capillaries for continuous operation. Integration of all these components on a single chip is challenging because it requires fabrication techniques for perfect bonding between different materials and is prone to leakage and blockage. This study has addressed all the challenges and presented a fully integrated chip, which is more robust with higher sensitivity than the previously developed IEF chips. This chip was tested by performing protein and pI marker separation. The separation results obtained in this chip were compared with that obtained in commercial cartridges. Side-by-side comparison validated the developed chip and fabrication techniques.

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