In electrokinetically driven microfluidic systems, the driving voltage applied during operation tends to induce a Joule heating effect in the buffer solution. This heat source alters the solution's characteristics and changes both the electrical potential field and the velocity field during the transport process. This study performs a series of numerical simulations to investigate the Joule heating effect and analyzes its influence on the electrokinetic focusing performance. The results indicate that the Joule heating effect causes the diffusion coefficient of the sample to increase, the potential distribution to change, and the flow velocity field to adopt a nonuniform profile. These variations are particularly pronounced under tighter focusing conditions and at higher applied electrical intensities. In numerical investigations, it is found that the focused bandwidth broadens because thermal diffusion effect is enhanced by Joule heating. The variation in the potential distribution induces a nonuniform flow field and causes the focused bandwidth to tighten and broaden alternately as a result of the convex and concave velocity flow profiles, respectively. The present results confirm that the Joule heating effect exerts a considerable influence on the electrokinetic focusing ratio.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Analytical Chemistry
- Clinical Biochemistry