|The present invention provides compact geometries for the layout of microchannel columns through the use of turns and straight channel segments. These compact geometries permit the use of long separation or reaction columns on a small microchannel substrate or, equivalently, permit columns of a fixed length to occupy a smaller substrate area. The new geometries are based in part on mathematical analyses that provide the minimum turn radius for which column performance in not degraded. In particular, we find that straight channel segments of sufficient length reduce the required minimum turn radius, enabling compact channel layout when turns and straight segments are combined. The compact geometries are obtained by using turns and straight segments in overlapped or nested arrangements to form pleated or coiled columns.