In free-flow electrophoresis (FFE) the separation is effected exclusively on the basis of a different charge and mobility. The materials to be separated are charged into a laminar buffer flow that runs through the process chamber. The elements to be separated are deflected differently by the electric field applied vertically to the direction of flow; in this way they are separated into different fractions.
Here, the IGB bases its work on the results gained in the Fraunhofer “Beyond Tomorrow” project “Molecular Sorting”, in which the separation of ions with an identical net charge has been demonstrated. Now the FFE method is being further developed within the scope of the lighthouse project “Criticality of Rare Earths”.
In addition to rare earths, biogenic materials such as proteins or enzymes can also be separated by means of FFE.