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Performance implications of chemical mobilization after microchannel IEF.


Chemical mobilization following IEF enables single-point detection of an ideally stationary equilibrium electrophoresis mode. Despite prior studies exploring optimization of chemical mobilization conditions and recent insight from numerical simulations, understanding of both chemical mobilization mechanisms and the implications of mobilization on IEF analytical performance remains limited. In this study, we utilize full-field imaging of microchannel IEF to assess the performance of a range of canonical chemical mobilization schemes. We empirically demonstrate and characterize key areas where limited understanding of performance implications exists, including: the effects of mobilization solution pH and ion concentration, differences between ionic and zwitterionic mobilization, and diffusion as a source of zone broadening. We utilize Simul5 simulations to gain insight into the sources of the measured performance differences. Measurements of the location, linearity, and slope of the IEF pH gradient (via fluorescent pH markers imaged before and during mobilization) as well as mobilization-associated broadening of focused analytes were performed to quantify performance and determine the dominant sources of variability. Our results suggest that nonuniform broadening of the pH gradient and changes in the pH gradient linearity stem from conductivity nonuniformities in the separation channel and not diffusion-associated band broadening during mobilization.

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