|Description:||This historic image from 1963 depicts a starch block electrophoresis apparatus, which had been assembled, and made ready for a run. See PHIL 12024 for an unassembled view of the components. Note that at one end of the gel lane is a black wire, and at the other end is a white wire, which when activated will maintain a continuous electric field from end to end of the lane. This charge will promote the flow of the molecules that will travel from the negative pole to the positive pole.|
Electrophoresis employs a uniformly maintained electric field, which influences particles suspended in a fluid through which this electric field is passed. It is a process, which is still widely used today when it is necessary to separate different molecules from one another based on their unique surface charge, and their size. The uniformly dispersed electric field influences the movement of the molecules being separated, and the porous channels throughout the matrix allows smaller molecules to move more readily through the medium than larger molecules. This phenomenon of molecular migration, is measured base on time, thereby, giving the scientist an appreciation for the molecular components of a given substance being analyzed.