Microfrabricated Acoustic and Thermal Field-Flow Fractionation Systems
Edwards, Thayne Lowell
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Arguments for miniaturization of a thermal field-flow fractionation system ( and #956;-ThFFF) and fabrication of a micro-scale acoustic field-flow fractionation system ( and #956;-AcFFF) using similar methods was presented. Motivation for miniaturization of ThFFF systems was established by examining the geometrical scaling of the fundamental ThFFF theory. Miniaturization of conventional macro-scale ThFFF systems was made possible through utilization of micromachining technologies. Fabrication of the and #956;-ThFFF system was discussed in detail. The and #956;-ThFFF system was characterized for plate height versus flow rate, single component polystyrene retention, and multi-component polystyrene separations. Retention, thermal diffusion coefficients, and maximum diameter-based selectivity values were extracted from separation data and found comparable with macro-scale ThFFF system results. Retention values ranged from 0.33 to 0.46. Thermal diffusion coefficients were between 3.0ױ0-8 and 5.4ױ0-8 cm2/sec?? The maximum diameter-based selectivity was 1.40. While the concept of an acoustic FFF sub-technique has been around for decades, the fabrication methods have not been available until recently. The theory was developed in full including relating sample physical properties to retention time in the FFF system. In addition to the theory, the design and fabrication of the and #956;-AcFFF was presented. Design results from an acoustic modeling program were presented with the determination of the acoustic resonant frequency. The acoustic-based systems was designed around the model results and characterized by electrical input impedance, fluidic, plate height, polystyrene suspension retention, and polystyrene mixture separation studies. The and #956;-AcFFF system was able to retain a series of nanometer scale polystyrene samples. However, the retention data did not follow normal mode retention but did reveal the location of the steric inversion point for the power level used, around 200 nm. The results of the multiple component separation confirmed this results as the sample, which contained 110, 210, and 300 nm diameter samples, was not resolved but only broadened.