Trends in Liquid Chromatography: Faster, More Efficient, More Versatile HPLC

The current pace of research and innovation has necessitated new and improved high-pressure liquid chromatography instrument designs -- technologies that breach boundaries and push the industry into uncharted territories.

Here we take a moment and highlight a few new HPLC instrument platforms -- those which offer faster, more efficient, and more versatile approaches towards today’s unique analytical challenges.

Speed, efficiency, versatility together as one 

The new Nexera X2 UHPLC System from Shimadzu tackles a broad range of applications, with high degrees of sensitivity, resolution, stability, speed, and flexibility.

  • The system can run up to 130 MPa over the range 0.0001 to 3 mL/min flow rate - climbing to 10 mL/min at 22 MPa.
  • Both the flow rate precision and gradient/concentration precision are very high, supporting robust stability under demanding separations conditions.
  • The flow rate can range from 0.0001 to 10 mL/min, the degassing unit can accommodate 3 or 5 lines at 400 µL, and both high-pressure and low-pressure gradients can be used. 
  • Flexibility in autosamplers includes the ability to handle a range of sample volumes – from 4 mL vials to 384 well plates.
  • An optional oven can fit 2 – 150 mm columns, heated over the range of 4 to 150 °C. 
  • The PDA detector functions at a wavelength range 190 – 800 nm with noise level ±3 x 106 at 250 nm.

One of most versatile features of the system includes the ability to handle both UHPLC and HPLC analyses using on-board flow control valves, without the need to significantly change configurations of the setup.

Technologies that minimize resource consumption while maximizing performance

The iSeries HPLC instruments from Shimadzu offer a balance of high-level performance in an all-in-one integrated platform.

  • Access is via a touch-screen LCD display, with intuitive navigation, chromatograph viewing, and method selection.
  • Degassing, quaternary solvent delivery, autosampling, and UV or PDA detection are all built-in to the devices.
  • The instruments can be operated in a range of locations - dedicated lab to remote testing site - making versatility a definite strong suit of the platform.

SCIEX offers a range HPLC products covering the spectrum from microflow to nanoflow and beyond.

  • The NanoLC offers a wide flow rate range enabling a diverse set of workflows on a given LC-MS instrument platform. Applications include proteomics, biomarker discovery, and validation workflows through the facile exchange of cartridges and the switch from nano to high-throughput micro operation.
  • The cHiPLC chip-based LC system works in combination with the NanoLC to enable the use of chips containing NanoLC, microLC or trap columns, for fast exchange and runs with minimal dead volumes.
  • Nano cHiPLC and Micro cHiPLC chip columns are designed for robustness, ease-of-use, and of course efficiency – with minimal dead volumes and low buffer and sample consumption. The columns offer a high level of efficiency in fast plug-and-play exchange resulting in flexible operations with reproducible results

Platforms with combined separations technologies

The new Nexera UC (SFE/SFC) unified supercritical fluid exchange and supercritical fluid chromatography system from Shimadzu is an innovation in orthagonal techniques.

  • The underlying concept of unified chromatography (UC) is intended to produce more information from complex separations experiments by combining the theories of LC, GC, and SFC.
  • Isomeric compounds, biological fluid analysis, pharma compound QC, polymer identification and more can be accomplished using the UC system.
  • An example of enhanced performance with complex samples includes QuEChERS analysis of residual pesticides in food. Processes which formerly required multiple sample preparation and conditioning steps are accomplished with less steps, on a faster time-scale, capturing more information on the single platform.

Complete LC technology portfolios

Agilent offers a complete portfolio of systems, components, and consumables designed to offer top-to-bottom solutions for a wide range of experimental questions.

  • The infinity total LC solutions include the flagship 1220 Infinity II LC, the 1260 II LC, and the 1290 IILC systems for high-level HPLC and UHPLC separations performance.
  • Applications including: 2D-LC, impurity analysis, method development and scouting, and SPE/SEC/SFC/GPC methods, can all be plugged into the infinity line of LC systems.
  • Software, columns, and other hardware appropriate for each application are available to round out the total solutions concept.

Waters has reached a milestone of 15 years since the introduction of the Acquity UPLC systems.

  • Acquity instruments now span those designed for complex orthogonal separations to those geared towards sample separations and conditioning for in-line mass spectrometry. Others include those with flow rate flexibility to suit a range of needs, as well we integrated HPLC/UPLC compatibility.
  • Various interchangeable modules – autosamplers, detectors, fraction collectors -- let the user adjust workflow conditions without compromise or system breakdown.
  • Software, accessories, and media complete the technology family offerings.

Thermo supports HPLC exploration with a useful HPLC System Selection Guide, designed to help find the best HPLC systems for user applications.

  • The flagship Vanquish UHPLC systems offer speed and efficiency for a range of analyte separations and investigation.
  • The systems can be fitted for microflow, nanoflow, and capillary flow scales.
  • A wide range of columns and consumables are available that fit seamlessly with the Vanquish devices.
  • Standards, reagents, and solvents are also offered as complements to the LC systems.

There are many LC products out there with the refined performance to accompany the storied evolution of HPLC technology.

Those mentioned above exemplify the tenets of speed, efficiency, and versatility – concepts which will continue to be driving factors in future LC innovations.

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