A microchip laboratory system and method provide fluid manipulations for a variety of applications, including sample injection for microchip chemical separations. The microchip is fabricated using standard photolithographic procedures and chemical wet etching, with the substrate and cover plate joined using direct bonding. Capillary electrophoresis and electrochromatography are performed in channels formed in the substrate. Analytes are loaded into a four-way intersection of channels by electrokinetically pumping the analyte through the intersection, followed by switching of the potentials to force an analyte plug into the separation channel.
 This invention was made with Government support under contract DE-AC05-84OR21400 awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy to Martin Marietta Energy Systems, Inc. and the Government has certain rights in this invention.