Electrophoresis is the best-known electrokinetic phenomenon. It was discovered by Reuss in 1807. He observed that clay particles dispersed in water migrate under influence of an applied electric field. There are detailed descriptions of electrophoresis in many books on colloid and interface science. There is an IUPAC Technical Report prepared by a group of well known experts on the electrokinetic phenomena. Generally, electrophoresis is the motion of dispersed particles relative to a fluid under the influence of an electric field that is space uniform. Alternatively, similar motion in a space non-uniform electric field is called dielectrophoresis.

Electrophoresis occurs because particles dispersed in a fluid almost always carry an electric surface charge. An electric field exerts an electrostatic Coulomb force on the particles through these charges. Recent molecular dynamics simulations, though, suggest that surface charge is not always necessary for electrophoresis and that even neutral particles can show electrophoresis due to the specific molecular structure of water at the interface.

Electrophoresis is the motion of dispersed particles relative to a fluid under the influence of a spatially uniform electric field.[1][2][3][4][5][6]


Fischer Scientific




  1. Lyklema, J. “Fundamentals of Interface and Colloid Science”, vol.2, page.3.208, 1995
  2. Hunter, R.J. "Foundations of Colloid Science", Oxford University Press, 1989
  3. Dukhin, S.S. & Derjaguin, B.V. "Electrokinetic Phenomena", J.Willey and Sons, 1974
  4. Russel, W.B., Saville, D.A. and Schowalter, W.R. “Colloidal Dispersions”, Cambridge University Press,1989
  5. Kruyt, H.R. “Colloid Science”, Elsevier: Volume 1, Irreversible systems, (1952)
  6. Dukhin, A.S. and Goetz, P.J. "Ultrasound for characterizing colloids", Elsevier, 2002

Further reading[]

  • Voet and Voet (1990) Biochemistry. John Whiley & sons.
  • Jahn, G.C., Hall, D.W., and Zam, S.G. (1986) A comparison of the life cycles of two Amblyospora (Microspora: Amblyosporidae) in the mosquitoes Culex salinarius and Culex tarsalis Coquillett. J. Florida Anti-Mosquito Assoc. 57, 24–27.
  • Khattak M.N. and Matthews R.C. (1993) Genetic relatedness of Bordetella species as determined by macrorestriction digests resolved by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis. Int. J. Syst. Bacteriol. 43(4), 659-64.
  • Barz, D.P.J. and Ehrhard. P. (2005) Model and verification of electrokinetic flow and transport in a micro-electrophoresis device. Lab Chip 5, 949–958.
  • Shim, J., Dutta, P., and Ivory, C.F. (2007) Modeling and simulation of IEF in 2-D microgeometries. Electrophoresis 28, 527–586