Mass spectrometry is the enabling technology for proteomics. To fully realize the enormous potential of lab-on-a-chip in proteomics, a major advance in interfacing microfluidics with mass spectrometry is needed. Here, we report the first demonstration of monolithic integration of multinozzle electrospray emitters with a microfluidic channel via a novel silicon microfabrication process. These microfabricated monolithic multinozzle emitters (M3 emitters) can be readily mass-produced from silicon wafers. Each emitter consists of a parallel silica nozzle array protruding out from a hollow silicon sliver with a conduit size of 100 x 10 mum. The dimension and number of freestanding nozzles can be systematically and precisely controlled during the fabrication process. Once integrated with a mass spectrometer, M3 emitters achieved sensitivity and stability in peptide and protein detection comparable to those of commercial silica-based capillary nanoelectrospray tips. These M3 emitters may play a role as a critical component in a fully integrated silicon/silica-based micro total analysis system for proteomics.
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