Isotachophoresis of proteins in a networked microfluidic chip: Experiment and 2-D simulation



This paper reports both the experimental application and 2-D simulation of ITP of proteins in a networked microfluidic chip. Experiments demonstrate that a mixture of three fluorescent proteins can be concentrated and stacked into adjacent zones of pure protein under a constant voltage of 100 V over a 2 cm long microchannel. Measurements of the isotachophoretic velocity of the moving zones demonstrates that, during ITP under a constant voltage, the zone velocity decreases as more of the channel is occupied by the terminating electrolyte. A 2-D ITP model based on the Nernst–Planck equations illustrates the stacking and separation features of ITP using simulations of three virtual proteins. The self-sharpening behavior of ITP zones dispersed by a T-junction is clearly demonstrated both by experiment and by simulation. Comparison of 2-D simulations of ITP and zone electrophoresis (ZE) confirms that ZE lacks the ability to resharpen protein zones after they pass through a T-junction.