Polyacrylamide electrophoresis (PAGE) is performed on a gel formed by polymerizing and cross-linking acrylamides. These gels are stronger than agarose gels and also thermostable and transparent. The matrix created by cross-linking the polymer chains is more regular and the pore sizes are more uniform in an individual gel. The pore size can be changed by changing the concentrations of the acrylamides used.
In addition to separating fragments by charge and mass, PAGE also separates solutes by molecular size. When using PAGE, the gel allows more fractions of smaller size to be detected than the traditional agarose gel methods.
Care is required in polyacrylamide gel preparation and use because acrylamides are carcinogenic.