A microfabricated device employing a bridging membrane and methods for electrokinetic transport of a liquid phase biological or chemical material using the same are described. The bridging membrane is deployed in or adjacent to a microchannel and permits either electric current flow or the transport of gas species, while inhibiting the bulk flow of material. The use of bridging membranes in accordance with this invention is applicable to electrokinetically inducing fluid flow to confine a selected material in a region of a microchannel that is not influenced by an electric field. Other structures for inducing fluid flow in accordance with this invention include nanochannel bridging membranes and alternating current fluid pumping devices. Applications of the bridging membranes according to this invention include the separation of species from a sample material, valving of fluids in a microchannel network, mixing of different materials in a microchannel, and the pumping of fluids.
The U.S. Government has a paid-up license in this invention and the right in limited circumstances to require the patent owner to license others on reasonable terms as provided for by the terms of contract DE-AC05-00OR22725 awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy.