The recent introduction of new stationary phases for liquid chromatography based on superficially porous particles, called core-shell or fused-core, dramatically improved the separation performances through very high efficiency, due mainly to reduced eddy diffusion. However, few studies have evaluated the retention and selectivity of C18 phases based on such particles, despite some retention order change reported in literature between some of these phases. The carotenoid test has been developed a few years ago in the goal to compare the chromatographic properties of C18 bonded phases. Based on the analysis of carotenoid pigments by using Supercritical Fluid Chromatography (SFC), it allows, with a single analysis, to measure three main properties of reversed phase chromatography stationary phases: hydrophobicity, polar surface activity and shape selectivity. Previous studies showed the effect of the endcapping treatment, the bonding density, the pore size, and the type of bonding (monomeric vs. polymeric) on these studied properties, and described the classification map used for a direct column comparison. It was applied to ten ODS superficially porous stationary phases, showing varied chromatographic behaviors amongst these phases. As expected, due to the lower specific surface area, these superficially porous phases are less hydrophobic than the fully porous one. In regards of the polar surface activity (residual silanols) and to the shape selectivity, some of these superficially porous phases display close chromatographic properties (Poroshell 120, Halo C18, Ascentis Express, Accucore C18, Nucleoshell C18 on one side and Aeris Wide pore, Aeris peptide and Kinetex XDB on the other side), whereas others, Kinetex C18 and Halo peptide ES C18 display more specific ones. Besides, they can be compared to classical fully porous phases, in the goal to improve method transfer from fully to superficially porous particles. By the way, the paper also report the extension of the test to other ligands such as naphtyl, cholester, phenyl-hexyl, or to the new ODS bonded phases, such as charge surface hybrid phases, High Strength Silica, and Hybrid ones, and also presents results for identical brands using different particle size, such as Luna and Synergi phases. Phenyl-hexyl and napthyl ligands show rather close properties, low hydrophobicity, high polar surface activity and specific shape selectivity, whereas, at the opposite, the cholester phase display a polymeric behavior and a high hydrophobicity. Finally, additional classical (fully porous particles) C18 bonded phases are also reported to complete the data set presented in previous papers.
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