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Conclusions

We have designed, set up, implemented and evaluated a microchip CE experiment for the instrumental analysis laboratory. The device fabrication procedures are sufficiently straightforward that minimally trained undergraduates or graduate students can bond embossed polymer substrates to create CE microchips. However, device fabrication consumes laboratory time that could be spent on studying and evaluating microfluidic and separation phenomena, such that we chose to provide students with fabricated CE microchips. In this laboratory, students can readily obtain microchip CE data, and they are capable of performing additional analyses to understand microfluidic and separation phenomena. The material covered in the lecture portion of the class needs to be well correlated with the laboratory module for maximal impact. We feel that this new experiment provides an excellent opportunity to introduce students to the fundamentals of microfluidics, and also reinforces key concepts in separations, microscopy and fluorescence detection. As such, this microchip CE experiment forms an excellent addition to the instrumental analysis laboratory.