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Method and apparatus for reducing sample dispersion in turns and junctions of microchannel systems

United States Patent

August 7, 2001
View the Complete Patent at the US Patent & Trademark Office
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The performance of microchannel devices is improved by providing turns, wyes, tees, and other junctions that produce little dispersions of a sample as it traverses the turn or junction. The reduced dispersion results from contraction and expansion regions that reduce the cross-sectional area over some portion of the turn or junction. By carefully designing the geometries of these regions, sample dispersion in turns and junctions is reduced to levels comparable to the effects of ordinary diffusion. A numerical algorithm was employed to evolve low-dispersion geometries by computing the electric or pressure field within candidate configurations, sample transport through the turn or junction, and the overall effective dispersion. These devices should greatly increase flexibility in the design of microchannel devices by permitting the use of turns and junctions that do not induce large sample dispersion. In particular, the ability to fold electrophoretic and electrochrornatographic separation columns will allow dramatic improvements in the miniaturization of these devices. The low-lispersion devices are particularly suited to electrochromatographic and electrophoretic separations, as well as pressure-driven chromatographic separation. They are further applicable to microfluidic systems employing either electroosrnotic or pressure-driven flows for sample transport, reaction, mixing, dilution or synthesis.
Griffiths; Stewart K. (Danville, CA), Nilson; Robert H. (Cardiff-by-the-Sea, CA)
Sandia Corporation (Albuquerque, NM)
09/ 299,269
April 26, 1999
This invention was made with Government support under Contract No. DE-AC04-94AL85000 awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy to Sandia Corporation. The Government has certain rights to the invention.