Electrophoresis 2003 Jan;24(1-2):34-54
Department of Chemical Engineering, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL 60208, USA.
The necessity for microchannel wall coatings in capillary and chip-based electrophoretic analysis of biomolecules is well understood. The regulation or elimination of EOF and the prevention of analyte adsorption is essential for the rapid, efficient separation of proteins and DNA within microchannels. Microchannel wall coatings and other wall modifications are especially critical for protein separations, both in fused-silica capillaries, and in glass or polymeric microfluidic devices. In this review, we present a discussion of recent advances in microchannel wall coatings of three major classes--covalently linked polymeric coatings, physically adsorbed polymeric coatings, and small molecule additives. We also briefly review modifications useful for polymeric microfluidic devices. Within each category of wall coatings, we discuss those used to eliminate EOF, to tune EOF, to prevent analyte adsorption, or to perform multiple functions. The knowledgeable application of the most promising recent developments in this area will allow for the separation of complex protein mixtures and for the development of novel microchannel wall modifications.