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Electrophoresis. 2012 Mar;33(6):1048-59. doi: 10.1002/elps.201100510.

Concentration cascade of leading electrolyte using bidirectional isotachophoresis.

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Department of Mechanical Engineering, Stanford University, CA 94305, USA.


We present a novel method of creating concentration cascade of leading electrolyte (LE) in isotachophoresis (ITP) by using bidirectional ITP. ITP establishes ion-concentration shock waves between high-mobility LE and low-mobility trailing electrolyte (TE) ions. In bidirectional ITP, we set up simultaneous shock waves between anions and cations such that these waves approach each other and interact. The shock interaction causes a sudden decrease in LE concentration ahead of the focused anions and a corresponding decrease in analyte zone concentrations. This readjustment of analyte zone concentrations is accompanied by a corresponding increase in their zone lengths, in accordance to conservation laws. The method generates in situ gradient in the LE concentration, and therefore can be achieved in a single, straight channel simply by establishing the initial electrolyte chemistry. We have developed an analytical model useful in designing the process for maximum sensitivity and estimating increase in sample zone length due to shock interaction. We also illustrate the technique and evaluate its effectiveness in increasing detection sensitivity using transient simulations of species transport equations. We validated the theoretical predictions using experimental visualizations of bidirectional ITP zones for various electrolyte chemistries. Lastly, we use our technique to demonstrate a factor of 20 increase in the sensitivity of ITP-based detection of 2,4,6-trichlorophenol.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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