The present work describes a novel microfluidic free-flow electrophoresis device developed by applying three-dimensional (3D) printing technology to rapid prototype a low-cost chip for micro- and nanoparticle collection and analysis. Accurate reproducibility of the device design and the integration of the inlet and outlet ports with the proper tube interconnection was achieved by the additive manufacturing process. Test prints were performed to compare the glossy and the matte type of surface finish. Analyzing the surface topography of the 3D printed device, we demonstrated how the best reproducibility was obtained with the glossy device showing a 5% accuracy. The performance of the device was demonstrated by a free-flow zone electrophoresis application on micro- and nanoparticles with different dimensions, charge surfaces and fluorescent dyes by applying different separation voltages up to 55 V. Dynamic light scattering (DLS) measurements and ultraviolet−visible spectroscopy (UV−Vis) analysis were performed on particles collected at the outlets. The percentage of particles observed at each outlet was determined in order to demonstrate the capability of the micro free-flow electrophoresis (µFFE) device to work properly in dependence of the applied electric field. In conclusion, we rapid prototyped a microfluidic device by 3D printing, which ensured micro- and nanoparticle deviation and concentration in a reduced operation volume and hence suitable for biomedical as well as pharmaceutical applications.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited