American Chemical Society
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Instrumental Idiosyncrasies Affecting the Performance of Ultrafast Chiral and Achiral Sub/Supercritical Fluid Chromatography

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journal contribution
posted on 2016-08-08, 14:52 authored by Chandan L. Barhate, M. Farooq Wahab, D. J. Tognarelli, Terry A. Berger, Daniel W. Armstrong
It is widely accepted that column technology is ahead of existing chromatographic instruments. The chromatographic output may not reflect the true picture of the peak profile inside the column. The instrumental optimization parameters become far more important when peaks elute in a few seconds. In this work, the low viscosity advantage of the supercritical/subcritical CO2 is coupled with the high efficiency of narrow particle size distribution silica. Using short efficient columns and high flow rates (up to 19 mL/min), separations on the order of a few seconds are demonstrated. In the domain of ultrafast supercritical fluid chromatography (SFC), unexpected results are seen which are absent in ultrafast liquid chromatography. These effects arise due to the compressible nature of the mobile phase and detector idiosyncrasies to eliminate back-pressure regulator noise. We demonstrate unusual connection tubing effects with 50, 75, 127, 254, and 500 μm tubings and show the complex relation of dead time, retention time, efficiency, and optimum velocity with the tubing diameter (via column outlet pressure). Fourier analysis at different back-pressure regulator (BPR) settings shows that some instruments have very specific noise frequencies originating from the BPR, and those specific frequencies vanish under certain conditions. The performance of embedded digital filters, namely, moving average, numerically simulated low pass RC, and Gaussian kernels, is compared. This work also demonstrates, using a simple derivative test, that some instruments employ interpolation techniques while sampling at “true” low frequencies to avoid picking up high frequency noise. Researchers engaged in ultrafast chromatography need to be aware of the instrumental nuances and optimization procedures for achieving ultrafast chiral or achiral separations in SFC mode.