, Volume 5, Issue 4, pp 479-491
Date: 12 Feb 2008

Temperature modeling and measurement of an electrokinetic separation chip

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This work presents experimental [infrared (IR) thermography] and computational (finite element model) results of temperature distributions of an electrokinetic separation chip. Thermal characteristics of both the electrolyte solution and the polymer chip (SU-8) are taken into account in modeling temperature distributions during electrokinetic flow. Multiphysics and multiscale simulation couples electrostatics, heat transfer, and fluid dynamics. The accompanying IR thermography is a non-contact method, which can measure fractional temperature differences with sub-second time resolution. Any structures or temperature marker molecules interfering with the experiment are not needed. Nominal spot size in the IR measurements is 30 μm with a field of view of several millimeters enabling both local and chip-scale temperature monitoring simultaneously. As a result, we present a computer model for electrokinetic chips, which enables simulation of fractional temperature changes during electrophoresis under real operating conditions. The accuracy of the model is within ±1°C when the deviation in electrochemical processes is taken into account. The simulation results also suggest that the temperature on the chip surface qualitatively reflects the temperature inside the microchannel with an average offset of 1–2°C.