Decreasing the volume of reagent solutions consumed in each assay is an effective means to reduce the overall cost in high-throughput analysis laboratories. Recently, increasing attention has been paid to investigate the behavior of individual cells. If one wishes to transfer solution to or from a single cell, a picoliter pipettor is needed since the entire cell volume is commonly less than 1 nL. While pressure ejection and iontophoresis have been used to deliver picoliter volumes of solutions, these techniques cannot yield routine pipettors which perform both solution "picking up" and "dispensing" functions. The state-of-the-art pipettors can handle liquids down to approximately 100 nL, although the pipetting accuracy and precision deteriorate considerably from microliters to nanoliters. If one wishes to pipet reagents of less than 100 nL, new pipettors need to be developed. Electroosmosis has been utilized to pump solutions at flow rates of nanoliters to approximately picoliters per second, which is ideal for nanopipettors. The issue is how to arrange fluidic/electrical connections so that pipetting functions can be performed conveniently. In this paper, we present the results of our initial attempt to develop an electroosmosis-based nanopipettor. The first version of this pipettor consists of a microfabricated electroosmotic (EO) flow pump, a polyacrylamide grounding interface, and a nanoliter-to-picoliter pipet tip. The detailed configuration and fabrication process of the pipettor are discussed. An excellent feature of an EO-driven pipettor is that it has no moving parts. Good reproducibilities (RSD = 6% at 140 pL, 2% at 950 pL, and 2% at 13 nL) and accuracies (9% at 0.13 nL, 4% at 1.0 nL, and 3% at 10 nL) of this pipettor have been demonstrated to aliquot/transport nanoliter-to-picoliter solutions. (+info)
Characterization and performance of injection molded poly(methylmethacrylate) microchips for capillary electrophoresis.
Injection molded poly(methylmethacrylate) (IM-PMMA), chips were evaluated as potential candidates for capillary electrophoresis disposable chip applications. Mass production and usage of plastic microchips depends on chip-to-chip reproducibility and on analysis accuracy. Several important properties of IM-PMMA chips were considered: fabrication quality evaluated by environmental scanning electron microscope imaging, surface quality measurements, selected thermal/electrical properties as indicated by measurement of the current versus applied voltage (I-V) characteristic and the influence of channel surface treatments. Electroosmotic flow was also evaluated for untreated and O2 reactive ion etching (RIE) treated surface microchips. The performance characteristics of single lane plastic microchip capillary electrophoresis (MCE) separations were evaluated using a mixture of two dyes-fluorescein (FL) and fluorescein isothiocyanate (FITC). To overcome non-wettability of the native IM-PMMA surface, a modifier, polyethylene oxide was added to the buffer as a dynamic coating. Chip performance reproducibility was studied for chips with and without surface modification via the process of RIE with O2 and by varying the hole position for the reservoir in the cover plate or on the pattern side of the chip. Additionally, the importance of reconditioning steps to achieve optimal performance reproducibility was also examined. It was found that more reproducible quantitative results were obtained when normalized values of migration time, peak area and peak height of FL and FITC were used instead of actual measured parameters. (+info)
Transungual iontophoretic transport of polar neutral and positively charged model permeants: effects of electrophoresis and electroosmosis.
Transungual iontophoretic transport of model neutral permeants mannitol (MA), urea (UR), and positively charged permeant tetraethylammonium ion (TEA) across fully hydrated human nail plates at pH 7.4 were investigated in vitro. Four protocols were involved in the transport experiments with each protocol divided into stages including passive and iontophoresis transport of 0.1 and 0.3 mA. Water and permeant uptake experiments of nail clippings were also conducted to characterize the hydration and binding effects of the permeants to the nails. Iontophoresis enhanced the transport of MA and UR from anode to cathode, but this effect (electroosmosis) was marginal. The transport of TEA was significantly enhanced by anodal iontophoresis and the experimental enhancement factors were consistent with the Nernst-Planck theory predictions. Hindered transport was also observed and believed to be critical in transungual delivery. The barrier of the nail plates was stable over the time course of the study, and no significant electric field-induced alteration of the barrier was observed. The present results with hydrated nail plates are consistent with electrophoresis-dominant (the direct field effect) transungual iontophoretic transport of small ionic permeants with small contribution from electroosmosis. (+info)
Alternating current (AC) iontophoretic transport across human epidermal membrane: effects of AC frequency and amplitude.
PURPOSE: As a continuing effort to understand the mechanisms of alternating current (AC) transdermal iontophoresis and the iontophoretic transport pathways in the stratum corneum (SC), the objectives of the present study were to determine the interplay of AC frequency, AC voltage, and iontophoretic transport of ionic and neutral permeants across human epidermal membrane (HEM) and use AC as a means to characterize the transport pathways. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Constant AC voltage iontophoresis experiments were conducted with HEM in 0.10 M tetraethyl ammonium pivalate (TEAP). AC frequencies ranging from 0.0001 to 25 Hz and AC applied voltages of 0.5 and 2.5 V were investigated. Tetraethyl ammonium (TEA) and arabinose (ARA) were the ionic and neutral model permeants, respectively. In data analysis, the logarithm of the permeability coefficients of HEM for the model permeants was plotted against the logarithm of the HEM electrical resistance for each AC condition. RESULTS: As expected, linear correlations between the logarithms of permeability coefficients and the logarithms of resistances of HEM were observed, and the permeability data were first normalized and then compared at the same HEM electrical resistance using these correlations. Transport enhancement of the ionic permeant was significantly larger than that of the neutral permeant during AC iontophoresis. The fluxes of the ionic permeant during AC iontophoresis of 2.5 V in the frequency range from 5 to 1,000 Hz were relatively constant and were approximately 4 times over those of passive transport. When the AC frequency decreased from 5 to 0.001 Hz at 2.5 V, flux enhancement increased to around 50 times over passive transport. CONCLUSION: While the AC frequency for achieving the full effect of iontophoretic enhancement at low AC frequency was lower than anticipated, the frequency for approaching passive diffusion transport at high frequency was higher than expected from the HEM morphology. These observations are consistent with a transport model of multiple barriers in series and the previous hypothesis that the iontophoresis pathways across HEM under AC behave like a series of reservoirs interconnected by short pore pathways. (+info)
Chemical method to enhance transungual transport and iontophoresis efficiency.