Pressure-driven and electroosmotically-driven liquid chromatographic separations in packed fused silica capillaries

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Virginia Tech


Means of achieving rapid, efficient separations of analytes are explored in detail, with particular emphasis on the use of chromatographic and electrophoretic theory as an aid in system design and optimization. The benefits of miniaturization of chromatographic systems are assessed.

First, the utility of semi-micro Ion Chromatography is explored by the manufacture of 2mm ID analytical and suppressor columns and a micro-conductivity cell. The quality of the columns and detector cell are evaluated by the separation of a test mixture and the calculation of peak variance contribution of the detector cell. The use of readily available analytical scale instrumentation for semi-micro IC is demonstrated.

Next, a further downsizing of the IC system is described, in which 530μm ID fused silica tubing is utilized for column manufacture. In this case, a suppressor column is not used and UV detection is employed in the analysis of nucleoside monophosphates. Again, column performance characteristics are measured and noted. Application of this system to the separation of a hydrolysed nucleic acid sample demonstrates the feasibility of the technique to the analysis of volume-limited samples in low concentration with notable sensitivity.

The benefits of a miniaturized liquid chromatographic system under pressure-driven flow is studied and the improved permeability of micropacked capillary columns is exploited in the manufacture of several 25 to 30cm columns which achieve high efficiencies with relatively low pressure drops. Van Deemter plots illustrate the performance characteristics of the columns.

Finally, electroosmotic flow is studied as the motive force for liquid chromatographic separations. This combination of two techniques, packed capillary liquid chromatography and capillary electrophoresis, results in a system which achieves good resolving power through maximization of selectivity and efficiency.