On-chip temperature gradient interaction chromatography
This paper reports the first integrated microelectromechanical system (MEMS) HPLC chip that consists of a parylene high-pressure LC column, an electrochemical sensor, a resistive heater and a thermal-isolation structure for on-chip temperature gradient interaction chromatography application. The separation column was 8 mm long, 100 μm wide, 25 μm high and was packed with 5 μm sized, C18-coated beads using conventional slurry-packing technique. A novel parylene-enhanced, air-gap thermal isolation technology was used to reduce heater power consumption by 58% and to reduce temperature rise in the off-column area by 67%. The fabricated chip consumed 400 mW when operated at 100 °C. To test the chromatography performance of the fabricated system, a mixture of derivatized amino acids was chosen for separation. A temporal temperature gradient scanning from 25 to 65 °C with a ramping rate of 3.6 °C/min was applied to the column during separation. Successful chromatographic separation of derivatized amino acids was carried out using our chip. Compared with conventional temperature gradient HPLC system which incorporates "macro oven" to generate temporal temperature gradient on the column, our chip's thermal performance, i.e., power consumption and thermal response, is greatly improved without sacrificing chromatography quality.