This paper presents an analytical and parameterized model for analyzing the effects of Joule heating on analyte dispersion in electrophoretic separation microchannels. We first obtain non-uniform temperature distributions in the channel resulting from Joule heating, and then determine variations in electrophoretic velocity, based on the fact that the analyte’s electrophoretic mobility depends on the buffer viscosity and hence temperature. The convection-diffusion equation is then formulated and solved in terms of spatial moments of the analyte concentration. The resulting model is validated by both numerical simulations and experimental data, and holds for all mass transfer regimes, including unsteady dispersion processes that commonly occur in microchip electrophoresis. This model, which is given in terms of analytical expressions and fully parameterized with channel dimensions and material properties, applies to dispersion of analyte bands of general initial shape in straight and constant-radius-turn channels. As such, the model can be used to represent analyte dispersion in microchannels of more general shape, such as serpentine- or spiral-shaped channels.

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