American Chemical Society
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Porous Polymer Monoliths Functionalized through Copolymerization of a C60 Fullerene-Containing Methacrylate Monomer for Highly Efficient Separations of Small Molecules

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journal contribution
posted on 2011-12-15, 00:00 authored by Stuart D. Chambers, Thomas W. Holcombe, Frantisek Svec, Jean M.J. Fréchet
Monolithic poly(glycidyl methacrylate-co-ethylene dimethacrylate) and poly(butyl methacrylate-co-ethylene dimethacrylate) capillary columns, which incorporate the new monomer [6,6]-phenyl-C61-butyric acid 2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate ester, have been prepared and their chromatographic performance have been tested for the separation of small molecules in the reversed phase. While addition of the C60-fullerene monomer to the glycidyl methacrylate-based monolith enhanced column efficiency 18-fold, to 85 000 plates/m at a linear velocity of 0.46 mm/s and a retention factor of 2.6, when compared to the parent monolith, the use of butyl methacrylate together with the carbon nanostructured monomer afforded monolithic columns with an efficiency for benzene exceeding 110 000 plates/m at a linear velocity of 0.32 mm/s and a retention factor of 4.2. This high efficiency is unprecedented for separations using porous polymer monoliths operating in an isocratic mode. Optimization of the chromatographic parameters affords near baseline separation of 6 alkylbenzenes in 3 min with an efficiency of 64 000 plates/m. The presence of 1 wt % or more of water in the polymerization mixture has a large effect on both the formation and reproducibility of the monoliths. Other factors such as nitrogen exposure, polymerization conditions, capillary filling method, and sonication parameters were all found to be important in producing highly efficient and reproducible monoliths.