A "cast-in-place" monolithic microporous polymer salt bridge for conducting electrical current in microfluidic devices, and methods for manufacture thereof is disclosed. Polymeric salt bridges are formed in place in capillaries or microchannels. Formulations are prepared with monomer, suitable cross-linkers, solvent, and a thermal or radiation responsive initiator. The formulation is placed in a desired location and then suitable radiation such as UV light is used to polymerize the salt bridge within a desired structural location. Embodiments are provided wherein the polymeric salt bridges have sufficient porosity to allow ionic migration without bulk flow of solvents therethrough. The salt bridges form barriers that seal against fluid pressures in excess of 5000 pounds per square inch. The salt bridges can be formulated for carriage of suitable amperage at a desired voltage, and thus microfluidic devices using such salt bridges can be specifically constructed to meet selected analytical requirements.
STATEMENT OF GOVERNMENT INTEREST
The United States Government has rights in this invention pursuant to Contract No. DE-AC04-94AL85000 between the United States Department of Energy and Lockheed Martin Corporation for the management and operation of Sandia National Laboratories.