Three-layer flow membrane system on a microchip for investigation of molecular transport

Mariana Surmeian, Maxim N. Slyadnev, Hideaki Hisamoto, Akihide Hibara, Kenji Uchiyama, Takehiko Kitamori

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117 Citations (Scopus)


A stable three-layer flow system, water/organic solvent/water, has been successfully applied for the first time in a microchannel to get rapid transport through an organic liquid membrane. In the continuous laminar flow region, the analyte (methyl red) was rapidly extracted across the microchannel from the donor to the acceptor phase through the organic solvent phase (cyclohexane). Thermal lens microscopy was used to monitor the process. The thickness of the organic phase, sandwiched by the two aqueous phases, was ∼64 μm, and it was considered as a thin liquid organic membrane. Permeability studies showed the effects of molecular diffusion, layer thickness, and organic solvent-water partition coefficient on the molecular transport. In the microchip, complete equilibration was achieved in several seconds, in contrast to a conventionally used apparatus, where it takes tens of minutes. The thickness of the organic and aqueous boundary layers was defined as equal to the microchannel dimensions, and the organic solvent-water partition coefficient was determined on a microchip using the liquid/liquid extraction system. Experimental data on molecular transport across the organic membrane were in agreement with the calculated permeability based on the three-compartment water/organic solvent/water model. This kind of experiment can be performed only in a microspace, and the system can be considered as a potential biological membrane for future in vitro study of drug transport.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2014-2020
Number of pages7
JournalAnalytical Chemistry
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2002 May 1
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry


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