Microchip electrophoresis of N-glycans on serpentine separation channels with asymmetrically tapered turns

Zexi Zhuang, Indranil Mitra, Ahmed Hussein, Milos V. Novotny, Yehia Mechref, Stephen C. Jacobson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


We designed and fabricated microfluidic devices with serpentine separation channels and asymmetrically tapered turns, thus allowing high efficiency separations and minimizing band broadening associated with the "racetrack" effect. We evaluated the performance of these devices by measuring the variation in separation efficiency with separation length, electric field strength, taper ratio of the turns, and number of turns. N-Glycans derived from ribonuclease B and labeled with 8-aminopyrene-1,3,6-trisulfonic acid were electrophoretically separated on serpentine channels with separation lengths of 11, 18, 22, and 36cm at electric field strengths from 750 to 1750V/cm. Separations on the 36-cm channel produced plate numbers up to 940000 with an analysis time under 3.1min, whereas separations on the 22-cm channel had a shorter analysis time (less than 1.25min), still with respectable efficiencies (up to 600000 plates). Turn-induced dispersion was minimized with taper ratios 2 and 3, whereas having two or four 180° turns along with the separation length did not impact the overall efficiency. The developed device was used to analyze native and desialylated N-glycans derived from the blood serum of an ovarian cancer patient and a disease-free individual. Separation efficiencies similar to that achieved with the model glycans from ribonuclease B were attained for these biological samples.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)246-253
Number of pages8
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 2011


  • Asymmetric turns
  • Microchip electrophoresis
  • N-Glycans
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Serpentine microchannels


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