Electrophoresis microchips with sharp inlet tips, for contactless conductivity detection, fabricated by in-situ surface polymerization.

Research paper by Yi Y Chen, Pengyuan P Yang, Jianhua J Li, Di D Chen, Gang G Chen

Indexed on: 24 Dec '05Published on: 24 Dec '05Published in: Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry


A novel method based on in-situ surface polymerization of methyl methacrylate (MMA) has been developed for rapid fabrication of poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) electrophoresis microchips with sharp inlet tips. Prepolymerized MMA containing an ultraviolet (UV) initiator was directly sandwiched between a nickel template and a PMMA plate. The image of the relief on the nickel template was precisely replicated in the synthesized PMMA layer on the surface of the commercially available PMMA plate during UV-initiated polymerization at room temperature. The chips were subsequently assembled by thermal bonding of channel plates and cover sheets. The sample was directly introduced into the separation channel through a sharp inlet tip, which was placed in the sample vial, without use of an injection cross. The attractive performance of the novel PMMA microchips has been demonstrated by using contactless conductivity detection for determination of several inorganic ions. Such rapid and simple sample introduction leads to highly reproducible signals with relative standard deviations of less than 5% for peak responses. These new approaches significantly simplify the process of fabricating PMMA devices and show great promise for high-speed microchip analysis.