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Admittance Scanning for Whole Column Detection

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posted on 01.06.2017, 00:00 by Brian N. Stamos, Purnendu K Dasgupta, Shin-Ichi Ohira
Whole column detection (WCD) is as old as chromatography itself. WCD requires an ability to interrogate column contents from the outside. Other than the obvious case of optical detection through a transparent column, admittance (often termed contactless conductance) measurements can also sense changes in the column contents (especially ionic content) from the outside without galvanic contact with the solution. We propose here electromechanically scanned admittance imaging and apply this to open tubular (OT) chromatography. The detector scans across the column; the length resolution depends on the scanning velocity and the data acquisition frequency, ultimately limited by the physical step resolution (40 μm in the present setup). Precision equal to this step resolution was observed for locating an interface between two immiscible liquids inside a 21 μm capillary. Mechanically, the maximum scanning speed was 100 mm/s, but at 1 kHz sampling rate and a time constant of 25 ms, the highest practical scan speed (no peak distortion) was 28 mm/s. At scanning speeds of 0, 4, and 28 mm/s, the S/N for 180 pL (zone length of 1.9 mm in a 11 μm i.d. column) of 500 μM KCl injected into water was 6450, 3850, and 1500, respectively. To facilitate constant and reproducible contact with the column regardless of minor variations in outer diameter, a double quadrupole electrode system was developed. Columns of significant length (>1 m) can be readily scanned. We demonstrate its applicability with both OT and commercial packed columns and explore uniformity of retention along a column, increasing S/N by stopped-flow repeat scans, etc. as unique applications.

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