A microfabricated device and method for electrokinetic transport of a liquid phase biological or chemical material is described. In accordance with one aspect of the present invention there is provided a microchip that is adapted for the simultaneous spatial confinement of electrokinetically driven fluidic material streams on a substrate. The apparatus includes a focusing chamber formed in a surface of the substrate and in fluid communication with two sample fluid channels and three focusing fluid channels. The device further includes electromotive means operatively connected to the sources of the sample fluid and the source of focusing fluid for electrokinetically driving the respective streams of the sample and focusing fluids through the respective channels into the focusing chamber such that the focusing fluid streams spatially confine the first and second sample fluid streams within the focusing chamber. In accordance with another aspect of this invention, there is provided a cytometry method for analyzing microscopic particles in a fluid medium on a microchip by utilizing the focusing function of the microchip. In the disclosed cytometry process the width of the fluid stream is narrowed in the focusing chamber. The microscopic particles in the focused sample fluid are then detected and/or measured using light scattering or other techniques.
This invention was made with government support under contract DE-AC05-960R22464 awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy to Lockheed Martin Energy Research Corp. and the government has certain rights in this invention.