Free-Flow Electrophoresis

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.

Reference projects

Fraunhofer Lighthouse project "Critical Rare Earths"


Building on the successful results of the Molecular Sorting project, in which the separation of ions with same charge could be demonstrated, the method of FFE will be further developed within the Fraunhofer Lighthouse project "Criticality Rare Earths".


Duration: November 2013 – November 2017

Molecular Sorting – Recovery of Metals


In the Fraunhofer project  “Molecular Sorting for Resource Efficiency” funded within the framework of the “Markets Beyond Tomorrow” research program, Fraunhofer IGB could sussessfully demonstrate the separation of ions of identical net charge.


Duration: July 2011 – October 2014