Electrophoresis in nanochannels: brief review and speculation
Department of Mechanical Engineering, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, USA
Journal of Nanobiotechnology 2006, 4:12 doi:10.1186/1477-3155-4-12Published: 20 November 2006
The relevant physical phenomena that dominate electrophoretic transport of ions and macromolecules within long, thin nanochannels are reviewed, and a few papers relevant to the discussion are cited. Sample ion transport through nanochannels is largely a function of their interaction with electric double layer. For small ions, this coupling includes the net effect of the external applied field, the internal field of the double layer, and the non-uniform velocity of the liquid. Adsorption/desorption kinetics and the effects of surface roughness may also be important in nanochannel electrophoresis. For macromolecules, the resulting motion is more complex as there is further coupling via steric interactions and perhaps polarization effects. These complex interactions and coupled physics represent a valuable opportunity for novel electrophoretic and chromatographic separations.