Multiphysics Simulation of Ion Concentration Polarization Induced by a Surface-Patterned Nanoporous Membrane in Single Channel Devices

2014-10-21T00:00:00Z (GMT) by Mingjie Jia Taesung Kim
Microfluidic devices utilize ion concentration polarization (ICP) phenomena for a variety of applications, but a comprehensive understanding of the generation of ICP is still necessary. Recently, the emergence of a novel single channel ICP (SC-ICP) device has stimulated further research on the mechanism of ICP generation, so that we developed a 2-D model of an SC-ICP device that integrates a nanoporous membrane on the bottom surface of the channel, allowing bulk flow over the membrane. We solved a set of coupled governing equations with appropriate boundary conditions to explore ICP numerically. As a result, we not only showed that the simulation results held a strong qualitative agreement with experimental results, but also found the distribution of ion concentrations in the SC-ICP device that has never been reported in previous studies. We confirmed again that the electrophoretic mobility (EPM) of counterions in the membrane is the most dominant factor determining the generation and strength of ICP, whereas the charge density of the membrane was dominant to the ICP strength only when a high EPM value was assumed. From the viewpoint of practical applications, an SC-ICP device with a long membrane under low buffer strength showed enhanced performance in the preconcentration of charged molecules. Therefore, we believe that the simulation results could not only provide sharp insight into ICP phenomena but also predict and optimize the performance of SC-ICP devices in various microfluidic applications.