Biointerfaces Institute Mcmaster University
The focus of our work is to develop novel micro-scale separation tools and techniques for environmental and bio-processing applications. This approach adapts conventional separation processes (e.g. chromatography, membrane filtration, adsorption) into miniaturized formats such as micro-columns and micro-well plates. The advantages of this approach are considerable. First, it is extremely cost-effective since it requires minimal amounts of both the product and separation materials. Second, it is very efficient since a multiple number of experiments can be run simultaneously. This high-throughput development strategy is ideally suited to the use of design-of-experiments methodologies and multi-variate regression analysis tools to identify the critical process parameters. This micro-scale approach is ideally suited for screening the various materials (sorbents, membranes, resins, solvents, etc.) that are used, for identifying the critical process parameters (flow rate, temperature, solution pH, etc.), and for developing the appropriate control strategies to fully optimize the final process. High-throughput testing also enables the rapid identification of fundamental structure-property relationships, which can be used to predict separation performance.