A system and method is disclosed for chromatography and electrophoresis using circular optical scanning. One or more rectangular microchannel plates or radial microchannel plates has a set of analysis channels for insertion of molecular samples. One or more scanning devices repeatedly pass over the analysis channels in one direction at a predetermined rotational velocity and with a predetermined rotational radius. The rotational radius may be dynamically varied so as to monitor the molecular sample at various positions along a analysis channel. Sample loading robots may also be used to input molecular samples into the analysis channels. Radial microchannel plates are built from a substrate whose analysis channels are disposed at a non-parallel angle with respect to each other. A first step in the method accesses either a rectangular or radial microchannel plate, having a set of analysis channels, and second step passes a scanning device repeatedly in one direction over the analysis channels. As a third step, the scanning device is passed over the analysis channels at dynamically varying distances from a centerpoint of the scanning device. As a fourth step, molecular samples are loaded into the analysis channels with a robot.
The United States Government has rights in this invention pursuant to Contract No. W-7405-ENG-48 between the United States Department of Energy and the University of California for the operation of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.