Proteins are perhaps the most important yet frustratingly complicated and difficult class of compounds to analyze, manipulate, and use. One very attractive option to characterize and differentially concentrate proteins is dielectrophoresis, but according to accepted theory, the force on smaller particles the size of proteins is too low to overcome diffusive action. Here, three model proteins, immunoglobulin G, α-chymotrypsinogen A, and lysozyme, are shown to generate forces much larger than predicted by established theory are more consistent with new theoretical constructs, which include the dipole moment and interfacial polarizability. The forces exerted on the proteins are quantitatively measured against well-established electrophoretic and diffusive processes and differ for each. These forces are orders of magnitude larger than previously predicted and enable the selective isolation and concentration of proteins consistent with an extremely high-resolution separation and concentration system based on the higher-order electric properties. The separations occur over a small footprint, happen quickly, and can be made in series or parallel (and in any order) on simple devices.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Analytical Chemistry