DNA separations in microfabricated devices with automated capillary sample introduction

Elizabeth M. Smith, Hongwei Xu, Andrew G. Ewing

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


A novel method is presented for automated injection of DNA samples into microfabricated separation devices via capillary electrophoresis. A single capillary is used to electrokinetically inject discrete plugs of DNA into an array of separation lanes on a glass chip. A computer-controlled micromanipulator is used to automate this injection process and to repeat injections into five parallel lanes several times over the course of the experiment. After separation, labeled DNA samples are detected by laser-induced fluorescence. Five serial separations of 6-carboxyfluorescein (FAM)-labeled oligonucleotides in five parallel lanes are shown, resulting in the analysis of 25 samples in 25 min. It is estimated that approximately 550 separations of these same oligonucleotides could be performed in one hour by increasing the number of lanes to 37 and optimizing the rate of the manipulator movement. Capillary sample introduction into chips allows parallel separations to be continuously performed in serial, yielding high throughput and minimal need for operator intervention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)363-370
Number of pages8
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2001

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Clinical Biochemistry


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