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J Sep Sci. 2011 May;34(10):1180-3. doi: 10.1002/jssc.201100007. Epub 2011 Mar 25.

Continuous-flow separation of nanoparticles by electrostatic sieving at a micro-nanofluidic interface.

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Experimental Biophysics and Applied Nanoscience, Faculty of Physics, Bielefeld University, Germany.


Continuous-flow separation of nanoparticles (NPs) (15 and 39 nm) is demonstrated based on electrostatic sieving at a micro-nanofluidic interface. The interface is realized in a poly(dimethylsiloxane) device with a nanoslit of 525 nm laterally spanning the microfluidic channel (aspect ratio of 540:1). Within this nanoslit, the Debye layers overlap and generate an electrostatic sieve. This was exploited to selectively deflect and sort NPs with a sorting purity of up to 97%. Because of the continuous-flow operation, the sample is continuously fed into the device, immediately separated, and the parameters can be adapted in real time. For bioanalytical purposes, we also demonstrate the deflection of proteins (longest axis 6.8 nm). The continuous operation mode and the general applicability of this separation concept make this method a valuable addition to the current Lab-on-a-Chip devices for continuous sorting of NPs and macromolecules.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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