Transport of biomolecules in asymmetric nanofilter arrays

Zi Rui Li; G. R. Liu; Jongyoon Han; Yu Zong Chen; Jian-Sheng Wang; Hadjiconstantinou, Nicolas G.
May 2009
Analytical & Bioanalytical Chemistry;May2009, Vol. 394 Issue 2, p427
Academic Journal
We propose a theoretical model for describing the electric-field-driven migration of rod-like biomolecules in nanofilters comprising a periodic array of shallow passages connecting deep wells. The electrophoretic migration of the biomolecules is modeled as transport of point-sized Brownian particles, with the orientational degree of freedom captured by an entropy term. Using appropriate projections, the formulation dimensionality is reduced to one physical dimension, requiring minimal computation and making it ideal for device design and optimization. Our formulation is used to assess the effect of slanted well walls on the energy landscape and resulting molecule mobility. Using this approach, we show that asymmetry in the well shape, such as a well with one slanted and one vertical wall, may be used for separation using low-frequency alternating-current fields because the mobility of a biomolecule is different in the two directions of travel. Our results show that, compared to methods using direct-current fields, the proposed method remains effective at higher field strengths and can achieve comparable separation using a significantly shorter device.


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