Capillary electrophoresis (CE) combines electrophoresis and high performance liquid chromatography. CE takes place in a very thin, fused silica capillary tube with polyacrylamide or agarose gel. Polyacrylamide is the most common gel used. The ends of the capillary tube are placed in two buffer reservoirs with the anode in one, and the cathode in the other. A high voltage power supply and cooling system are included.
One major difference in CE is the detection of separated solutes as migration and separation occur, instead of detection after separation. An optical detector attached to the capillary detects solutes after separation but while still in the capillary; the detector is linked to data collection and storage.