Background: The aim was to develop a simple route to coupling microchip CE (MCE) to surface plasmon resonance (SPR). MCE is a microfluidic technology that utilizes microfabrication techniques to connect interacting fluid reservoirs. Its advantages include rapid analysis (typically seconds), easy integration of multiple analytical steps and parallel operation. SPR detects changes in refractive index within a short distance from the surface of a thin metal film as variations in light intensity reflected from the back of the film and, thus, does not require labeling. There is a great demand for developing hyphenated techniques like MCE-SPR that are fast, sensitive and inexpensive to analyze biological materials.
Materials & methods: The separation channel and flow cell exist as overlapping regions constructed during the microchip production and buffer solution was delivered mechanically. Such a design has successfully isolated the electrical field inherent in the MCE from the SPR detector. Consequently, the potential interference to the SPR signal (or modulation of the density of surface plasmons at the gold chip) is circumvented.
Results: The limits of detection for bovine serum albumin and sodium fluorescein were determined to be 7.5 µM and 3.1 mM, respectively.
Conclusion: The technique described, herein, has been successfully applied in the separation of two species. The method offers the advantages of a near zero connection dead volume, electrical shielding from the separation voltage and minimization of the mass transfer effect.