Simulation and experiment of asymmetric electrode placement for electrophoretic exclusion in a microdevice

Fanyi Zhu, Mark Hayes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Electrophoretic exclusion (EE) is a counterflow gradient technique that exploits hydrodynamic flow and electrophoretic forces to exclude, enrich, and separate analytes. Resolution for this technique has been theoretically examined and the smallest difference in electrophoretic mobilities that can be completely separated is estimated to be 10−13 cm2/Vs. Traditional and mesoscale systems have been used, whereas microfluidics offers a greater range of geometries and configurations towards approaching this theoretical limit. To begin to understand the impact of seemingly subtle changes to the entrance flow and the electric field configurations, three closely related microfluidic interfaces were modeled, fabricated, and tested. These interfaces consisted of systematically varying placement of an asymmetric electrode relative to a channel entrance: leading electrode placed outside the channel entrance, leading electrode aligned with the channel, and leading electrode placed within the channel. A charged fluorescent dye is used as a sensitive and accurate probe for the model and to test the concentration variation at these interfaces. Models and experiments focused on visualizing the concentration profile in areas of high temporal dynamics, thus providing a severe test of the models. Experimental data and simulation results showed strong qualitative agreement. The complexity of the electric and flow fields about this interface and the agreement between models and testing suggests the theoretical assessment capabilities can be used to faithfully design novel and more efficient interfaces.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)304-314
Number of pages11
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 2019


  • 3D model
  • Electrode placement
  • Electrophoretic exclusion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Clinical Biochemistry


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