Modelling and High Performance Simulation of Electrophoretic Techniques in Microfluidic Chips

Pablo Kler, Claudio Berli, Fabio Ariel Gusrnieri


Electrophoretic separations comprise a group of analytical tech-
niques such as capillary zone electrophoresis, isoelectric focusing, isota-
chophoresis and free flow electrophoresis. These techniques have been
miniaturized in the last years and now represent one of the most im-
portant applications of the lab-on-a-chip technology. A 3D and time-
dependent numerical model of electrophoresis on microfluidic devices is
presented. The model is based on the set of equations that governs elec-
trical phenomena, fluid dynamics, mass transport and chemical reactions.
The relationship between the buffer characteristics (ionic strength, pH)
and surface potential of channel walls is taken into consideration. Numer-
ical calculations were performed by using PETSc-FEM, in a Python en-
vironment, employing high performance parallel computing. The method
includes a set of last generation preconditioners and solvers, especially
addressed to 3D microfluidic problems, which significantly improve the
numerical efficiency in comparison with typical commercial software for
multiphysics. In this work, after discussing two validation examples, the
numerical prototyping of a microfluidic chip for two-dimensional elec-
trophoresis is presented.

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