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Morphology and Separation Efficiency of Low-Aspect-Ratio Capillary Ultrahigh Pressure Liquid Chromatography Columns

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journal contribution
posted on 15.05.2012, 00:00 by Stefan Bruns, James P. Grinias, Laura E. Blue, James W. Jorgenson, Ulrich Tallarek
We derive a quantitative relationship between the bed morphology and the chromatographic separation efficiency of capillary columns packed with sub-2 μm particles, covering capillary inner diameters from 10 to 75 μm. Our study focuses on wall effects and their impact on band broadening at increasing column-to-particle diameter (aspect) ratios. We approach these complex effects by a morphological analysis of reconstructed column segments composed of several thousand particles that were imaged by confocal laser scanning microscopy. Radial interparticle porosity profiles including wall effects are quantified through an integral porosity deviation, a scalar measure that proves to be a general descriptor of transcolumn porosity heterogeneity. It correlates with the associated transcolumn eddy dispersion, which dominates band broadening in the capillaries and is visualized in the plate height curves by a simple velocity-proportional term. Our comprehensive approach identifies the packing structure features that contribute to decreased efficiency as reflected, e.g., in subtle variations of the wall effect at different aspect ratios, or a particle size-segregation effect in larger-diameter columns as a result of an increased number of packing voids near the wall–bed interface.