Date of Award


Degree Name

MS in Electrical Engineering


Electrical Engineering


Vladimir Prodanov


Separation and isolation of a desired analyte from an impure sample solution containing numerous unwanted interfering agents is the first step of nearly every laboratory test performed in medicine and biology. Nucleic acids are often of particular interest to doctors and researchers, and although methods currently exist for their isolation, these procedures are costly in time, man-power, and real-estate. In addition to easing the execution of presently performed tests, mitigation or elimination of these drawbacks would make a large range of currently unperformed tests both practical and feasible.

This thesis presents a microfluidics-based approach to the isolation of nucleic acids using transverse isotachophoresis (ITP). A boro-silicate glass chip is used with Poly(Acrylamide) gel electrodes to establish an electric field perpendicular to the direction of sample flow, causing a controlled migration of charged particles. The design and fabrication of the microfluidic chip are addressed, along with the development of a transverse-ITP model which predicts the necessary conditions for the successful separation/concentration of an arbitrary sample. Several proof-of-concept images are provided which demonstrate the effectiveness of transverse ITP using surrogate sample inputs.

This thesis proposes a direction for future work which aims toward confirming the model presented and preparing the transverse ITP chip to receive biological samples.

Included in

Biomedical Commons