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An apparatus and method for capillary zone electrophoresis includes a polyelectrolyte multilayer positioned in a capillary tube for analytical separations of macromolecules. The capillary comprises a passage defined by passage walls comprising fused silica. The polyelectrolyte multilayer is positioned within the passage adjacent the walls, and comprises an organic polyelectrolyte. The passage may further comprise nonporous silica particles coated with a multilayer including a plurality of polyelectrolyte layers. An apparatus includes a power supply having a positive electrode and a negative electrode for generating an electric field therebetween. The apparatus includes a capillary having a passage formed by passage walls and comprising therein a polyelectrolyte multilayer positioned substantially within the passage. The passage has a first end electrically connected to the positive electrode and a second end electrically connected to the negative electrode to thereby generate an electric field through the passage. The apparatus also includes a sensor positioned adjacent the passage for sensing macromolecules.