A current research focus is to develop a miniaturised Capillary Electrophoresis (µCE) system that is portable and coupled with Capacitively-Coupled Contactless Conductivity detection (C4D). The principle of CE is based on the movement of molecules in an electric field. When high voltage power is applied between the narrow-bore capillary, the solution travels from the anode to the cathode through the capillary.
The rate at which the particle moves is directly proportional to the applied electric field. They are separated on their charge to mass ratio and depending on both the mobile and stationary phases further manipulation of the separation can be achieved in order to optimise the separation conditions.
The main advantage of using C4D as the detection method it that the analytes and mobile phase are never in contact with the sensor surface. There is no risk of the electrode surface fouling or damage to the sensor surface from the potential used to separate the analytes. The sensor can be easily aligned and reused.
Current applications of this research is concerned with the analysis of organophosphate compounds in forensic crime scene investigations and also for the rapid detection and screening for illicit drugs.
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