Fluidic communication between multiple vertically segregated microfluidic channels connected by nanocapillary array membranes

Maojun Gong, Bruce R. Flachsbart, Mark A. Shannon, Paul W. Bohn, Jonathan V. Sweedler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Hybrid microfluidic/nanofluidic devices offer unique capabilities for manipulating and analyzing minute volumes of expensive or hard-to-obtain samples. Here, multilayer poly- (methyl methacrylate) microchips, with multiple spatially isolated microfluidic channels interconnected by nanocapillary array membranes (NCAMs), are fabricated using an adhesive contact printing process. The NCAMs, positioned between the microfluidic channel layers, add functionality to the inter-microchannel fluid transfer unit operation. They do so because the transport of specific analytes through the NCAM can be controlled by adjusting the ionic strength, the polarity of the applied bias, the surface charge density, and the pore size. A simplified, floating injection technique for NCAM-coupled nanofluidic: devices is described and compared with conventional biased injection. In the floating injection approach, a voltage is applied across the injection channel and the slight electric field extension at the cross-section is used to transfer analytes through the nanopores to the separation channel. Floating injection excels in plug reproducibility, separation resolution, and operation simplicity, although it decreases assay throughput relative to biased injection. Floating injection can avoid the uneven distribution of analytes in the microfluidic channel that sometimes results from biased injection because of the volume mismatch between NCAM nanopore transport capacity and the supply of fluid. Moreover, the pressure-driven flow caused by the mismatch of the EOFs in the microfluidic channels connected by an NCAM must be considered when using NCAMs with pore diameters below 50 nm.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1237-1244
Number of pages8
Issue number6
StatePublished - Mar 2008


  • Floating injection
  • Membrane
  • Microfluidic
  • Nanofluidic
  • Poly(methyl methacrylate)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Biochemistry


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