Journal of chromatography. A

Development of a fritless packed column for capillary electrochromatography-mass spectrometry.

PMID 22035695


A novel procedure was developed for the fabrication of a fritless packed column for the coupling of capillary electrochromatography (CEC) to mass spectrometry (MS). The process involved the formation of internal tapers on two separate columns. Once the internal tapers are formed and the columns are packed, the untapered ends of each column were joined together by a commercially available connector. Several advantages of the fritless columns are described. First, the design used here eventually eliminates the need for any frits thus reducing the possibility of bubble formation seen with fritted packed columns. In addition, this is the first report in which the internal tapers are formed at both the inlet and outlet column ends making the fritless CEC-MS column more robust compared to only one report with externally tapered counterparts. Second, a comparison of internally tapered single frit packed CEC-MS (previously developed in our laboratory) column versus fritless CEC-MS column reported here shows that the latter provides better efficiency, suggesting no dead volume with equally good sensitivity and chiral resolution of (±)-aminoglutethimide. The fritless column procedure is universal and was used to prepare a series of columns with a variety of commercially available packing material (mixed mode strong cation exchange, SCX; mixed mode strong anion exchange, SAX; C-18) for the separation and MS detection of short chain non-chromophoric polar amines, long chain nonchromophic anionic surfactant as well as oligomers of non-chromophoric non-ionic surfactants, respectively. The fritless columns showed good intra-day repeatability and inter-day reproducibility of retention times, chiral and achiral resolutions and peak areas. Very satisfactory column-to-column and operator-to-operator reproducibility was demonstrated.