Determination of individual microsphere properties by capillary electrophoresis with laser-induced fluorescence detection

Ciarán F. Duffy, Abraham A. McEathron, Edgar Arriaga

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Capillary electrophoresis with postcolumn laser-induced fluorescence detection was used to individually detect 6.0, 1.0, 0.5, and 0.2 μm diameter polystyrene microspheres and individually measure their electrophoretic mobility. The analysis of a nanoliter-size volume from a microsphere suspension results in an electropherogram characterized by several narrow spikes in a well-defined migration time window. Each spike is associated with one microsphere because, when one single microsphere is introduced into the capillary by micromanipulation, the electropherogram has only one spike in the same migration time window. The distributions of individual measurements resulting from an electropherogram were used to evaluate the reproducibility from run to run, observe the effect of sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS) added to the running buffer, and to investigate the origin of electrophoretic dispersion. As expected from the interactions between microspheres and SDS, the addition of this surfactant to the running buffer narrowed the range and shifted the average electrophoretic mobility to more negative values. After evaluating common sources of broadening in capillary electrophoresis, electrophoretic dispersion was attributed to microsphere heterogeneity. Unlike electropherograrns displaying Gaussian-like profiles, the two-dimensional representations of the individual measurements provide a new alternative to evaluate and study electrophoretic-related properties of microspheres.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2040-2047
Number of pages8
Issue number13
StatePublished - Aug 23 2002


  • Capillary electrophoresis
  • Heterogeneity
  • Individual
  • Microsphere


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