A hybrid slab-microchannel gel electrophoresis system. The hybrid system permits the fabrication of isolated microchannels for biomolecule separations without imposing the constraint of a totally sealed system. The hybrid system is reusable and ultimately much simpler and less costly to manufacture than a closed channel plate system. The hybrid system incorporates a microslab portion of the separation medium above the microchannels, thus at least substantially reducing the possibility of non-uniform field distribution and breakdown due to uncontrollable leakage. A microslab of the sieving matrix is built into the system by using plastic spacer materials and is used to uniformly couple the top plate with the bottom microchannel plate.
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.