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Journal of chromatography. A

A generic approach to post-column refocusing in liquid chromatography.


PMID 25127691

Abstract

To increase detection sensitivity in liquid chromatography, a generic post-column refocusing strategy has been developed to enrich (target) analytes prior to detection. In this strategy, after separation on the analytical column, the analytes are led to a trap column preferably containing a stationary phase with strong retentive properties (e.g. silica C30). They are then eluted using a strong solvent in a backward-elution mode. A first key element of the proposed strategy is that the trapping time should be at least equal to the time the front of the remobilization solvent needs to cover the entire length of the trap column, divided by the ratio of the flow rates used for trapping and remobilization. This condition is independent of the retention properties of the analytes in the trapping and remobilization solvent. Another essential element is the addition of a third solvent (isopropanol in the present case) to the remobilization solvent to overcome viscous-fingering effects caused by the viscosity difference between the trap and the remobilization solvents. The potential of the proposed post-column refocusing strategy is demonstrated for an isocratic separation of KI (t0 marker), an antibiotic (sulfamethazine), and acetophenone as a case study. Using optimized remobilization conditions a maximum signal-enhancement factor of 8 was achieved. Higher enhancement factors using a remobilization solvent with slightly higher elution strength were prohibited by disturbances of the UV background signal.

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