Separation of Long DNA Molecules in a Microfabricated Entropic Trap Array

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Science  12 May 2000:
Vol. 288, Issue 5468, pp. 1026-1029
DOI: 10.1126/science.288.5468.1026

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A nanofluidic channel device, consisting of many entropic traps, was designed and fabricated for the separation of long DNA molecules. The channel comprises narrow constrictions and wider regions that cause size-dependent trapping of DNA at the onset of a constriction. This process creates electrophoretic mobility differences, thus enabling efficient separation without the use of a gel matrix or pulsed electric fields. Samples of long DNA molecules (5000 to ∼160,000 base pairs) were efficiently separated into bands in 15-millimeter-long channels. Multiple-channel devices operating in parallel were demonstrated. The efficiency, compactness, and ease of fabrication of the device suggest the possibility of more practical integrated DNA analysis systems.

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