A Toolkit to Quantify Target Compounds in Thin-Layer-Chromatography Experiments

Thin-layer chromatography (TLC) is one of the basic analytical procedures in chemistry and allows the demonstration of various chemical principles in an educational setting. An often-overlooked aspect of TLC is the capability to quantify isolated target compounds in an unknown sample. Here, we present a suitable route to implement quantitative analysis in a lesson plan. We provide both a stand-alone software and an online webapp that allow students to obtain quantitative information from a developed TLC plate and present two suitable experiments, namely, the absorbance-based quantification of the colorant Sudan IV and the fluorescence-based quantification of rhodamine 6G, a fluorophore widely used in biotechnology. Students conduct TLC experiments following established protocols, take pictures of their TLC plates with mobile phones, and subsequently quantify the different compounds in the separate bands they observe.