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Counterflow Gradient Focusing in Free-Flow Electrophoresis for Protein Fractionation

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journal contribution
posted on 08.05.2020, 15:07 by Matthew Courtney, Ethan Thompson, Tomasz Glawdel, Carolyn L. Ren
With its ability to continuously separate and collect charged analytes, free-flow electrophoresis (FFE) has become a useful tool for the purification and real-time analysis of biological mixtures. This work presents a new free-flow counterflow gradient focusing (FF-CGF) mechanism that uses a novel velocity gradient to counterbalance electrophoretic migration. This counterflow gradient is created by simply introducing fluid flow through the sidewalls of the FFE chamber. The theoretical foundation and device design for FF-CGF are provided in this work, followed by implementation and validation, with a detailed discussion on future opportunities and challenges. Initial results show promise, with the potential to improve FFE resolution and offer versatility. Compared to existing focusing techniques, such as free-flow isotachophoresis and isoelectric focusing, no complex buffer compositions are required.

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