What is a Capillary Array?
A capillary array is a collection of small tubes structures, usually made of glass,plastic or hollow fibers, that are aligned in a specific manner. These tubes have a very small diameter (from microns to millemeters). Capillary arrays could be used in applications including DNA sequencing, protein analysis, and chemical analysis. The size of the capillary is useful for separation and analysis of small biological samples, such as DNA fragments or proteins.
Specification of Capillary Arrays
- Diameter of a single capillary (Hole Size)
- Length of the capillaries (Hole Depth)
- Materials (Glass type)
- Plate Size
- Plate Format (Round or Square)
- Open Area Ratio (Percentage of the holey area)
How Capillary array is used in applications?
- DNA sequencing: Capillary electrophoresis is a common method for DNA sequencing. In this technique, DNA fragments are separated based on their size as they migrate through the capillary array under the influence of an electric field. The separated fragments are then detected and their sequence can be determined.
- Protein quality analysis: Capillary electrophoresis is also used to separate and analyze proteins based on their size, charge, or other properties. This can be used to identify and quantify proteins in a sample or to study the properties of individual proteins.
- Chemical analysis: Capillary arrays can be used to separate and analyze small amounts of chemicals, such as drugs or pollutants, based on their physical or chemical properties.
- Microfluidics: Capillaries are also used in microfluidic devices, which are miniaturized systems that manipulate small volumes of liquid. This is useful in many fields, such as biology, chemistry and medicine, where the amount of sample is limited.
- Forensics: Capillary electrophoresis is used to separate DNA fragments from crime scene samples to identify suspects and match them to samples taken from victims or suspects.
- Medical Diagnostics: Capillaries can be used to detect and analyze various molecules in bodily fluids, such as blood, to diagnose diseases or monitor treatment effectiveness.
Does smaller hole size improve the performance?
Smaller hole size in a capillary array can improve the performance of the separation or detection of specific molecules or samples. The internal diameter of the capillaries is one of the main specifications for a capillary array and it is typically measured in micrometers (µm). A smaller internal diameter results in higher resolution separations, meaning that smaller differences in the size, charge, or other properties of the molecules being separated can be distinguished. This is because the smaller diameter capillaries create a higher effective electric field, which leads to greater separation based on the electrophoretic mobility of the molecules.
However, using a smaller diameter capillaries also has some downsides, such as an increased resistance to the migration of the sample, which results in slower migration rates, and higher pressure needed to pump the sample through the capillaries. Additionally, smaller capillaries require smaller sample volume, which can be limiting if the sample is scarce or expensive.
In summary, smaller hole size in a capillary array can improve the performance of separation or detection, but it also comes with some trade-offs such as increased resistance and slower migration rates, and requiring a smaller sample volume. The optimal hole size for a capillary array will depend on the specific application and the properties of the sample being analyzed.
What is Capillary array electrophoresis?
Capillary array electrophoresis (CAE) is a method that uses a collection of small capillaries arranged in a specific pattern for protein quality analysis. The capillaries in the array have a very small internal diameter, typically on the order of a few micrometers, which allows for efficient separation and analysis of small protein samples.
CAE can be used for several applications in protein quality analysis such as:
- High-throughput protein analysis: CAE can be used to analyze multiple samples simultaneously, allowing for high-throughput protein analysis. This can be useful in applications such as drug discovery where many protein samples need to be screened quickly.
- Multi-dimensional protein analysis: CAE can be used to separate proteins based on multiple properties, such as size, charge, and hydrodynamic radius. This can provide more detailed information on the properties of proteins in a sample and can be used to identify any issues that may affect protein quality.
- Automated protein analysis: CAE can be integrated with robotic systems for automated sample handling and data acquisition, which allows for the efficient and consistent analysis of large numbers of protein samples.
- Protein identification: CAE can be used to identify proteins in a sample by comparing the electropherograms of the sample to a database of known proteins. This allows for the identification of unknown proteins or the confirmation of the presence of known proteins in a sample.
CAE is a powerful tool for protein quality analysis as it allows for the high-resolution separation and detection of proteins. It can provide detailed information on the properties of proteins in a sample, allowing for the identification of any issues that may affect protein quality, and can analyze multiple samples simultaneously, which increases the throughput and efficiency of the analysis.