UHPLC System Suitability: Which is Right for My Lab Applications?

Ultra high performance liquid chromatography (UHPLC) arose from the desire to increase sensitivity, resolution, and efficiency over traditional HPLC parameters in order to drive modern separations applications. To accommodate new technologies with smaller bead diameters and shorter column lengths, systems capable of extended high-range pressures are necessary. Low volumes and variables such as heat generation has necessitated a focus on precision flow and performance as well.

Some UHPLC-class instruments can run HPLC methods and columns, whereas others are specifically suited for ultra high pressures, applications, and performance. The myriad of features and benefits within this range of instruments makes the proper choice of system important for your current lab needs. Knowledge of the variety of products and associated technologies available is also key in considering future applications and return on investment.

The instrument summaries below are listed in no particular order which would otherwise constitute a rank or preference. Rather, this list is meant as a simple guide to assist in identifying options in the field. High performance chromatography (HPLC) instrument profiles are the focus of an accompanying article.


Acquity UPLC Systems

The Acquity Systems are based on Waters’s ultra high-performance chromatography (UPLC) breakthrough technology. The dramatic increases in speed, resolution, and sensitivity have enabled analytical chemists to reach far beyond the capabilities of conventional separations technology.

  • A key differentiator of UPLC over HPLC technology involves the use of sub-2 µm hybrid particle separations media, which offers significant performance enhancements over industry standard 5 µm media.
  • Results include: 3X higher efficiency, 70% higher resolution, 3X higher flow rates, and a 9X increase in throughput with no loss of resolution.
  • Over 70% higher sensitivity or 3X that of conventional 5 µm separations media.
  • Column lengths can be reduced by a factor of three over the use of 5 µm media.
  • The system is engineered to handle the increases in backpressure that accompany the step down in separations particle size and the step up in flow rates.

There are three basic platforms.

  • Acquity UPLC H-Class System – For performing routine analyses or methods development.
  • Acquity UPLC I-Class System – For solving separations of limited analytes in complex matrices.
  • Acquity UPLC M-Class System – For high quality nano- to micro-scale separations of limited materials and sample limited LC/MS analysis.

The Acquity UPLC system can be used alone or coupled with specific optical or mass spec detection instrumentation to increase versatility for a range of applications, including: ADME screening, food safety analysis, bioanalysis, clinical, metabolite identification, metabolomics, method development, open access, and routine screening.

Get more information on the Waters Acquity UPLC and request a quote at LabX.com

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The Shimadzu Nexera XR ultra high-performance liquid chromatograph (UHPLC) represents an increase in efficiency over the Prominence system, allowing customers to pursue high-speed, high-resolution chromatography.

The Nexera XR HPLC/UHPLC system addresses a multitude of chromatographic needs.

  • Method Scouting - Switch between 8 mobile phases, 6 columns for up to 96 method combinations.
  • Increased Throughput – Maximize sample throughput with precision, high-speed injections.
  • Choice of detection – UV-Vis, Photodiode Array, Refractive Index, Fluorescence, Conductivity, etc.
  • Large Capacity Oven – Can fit up to 300 mm columns, 2 flow control valves, 2 manual injections, and a gradient mixer.

The Nexera XR system provides accurate and reproducible results and has proven to be an indispensable tool for laboratories in a variety of industries including: pharmaceuticals, biochemistry, chemistry, environmental, and food science.

Nexera X2

The Shimadzu Nexera X2 ultra high-performance liquid chromatography (UHPLC) system offers unsurpassed chromatographic efficiency, sensitivity, resolution, stability, and reliability. The Nexera X2 is a truly flexible design that expands to tackle a broad range of UHPLC applications.

Nexera X2 covers a broad range of UHPLC application demands.

  • Precision engineered UHPLC pumps for pulse-free solvent delivery at up to 130 Mpa.
  • Automated solvent preparation – solvent selection, solvent blending, and gradient elution in one system.
  • Enhanced autosampler rinsing functions – up to 4 different rinsing solutions.
  • Large sample capacity – can hold up to 324 - 1.5 mL vials at a time and expandable with the rack changer.
  • Column oven with Intelligent Heat distribution.

Get more information on the Nexera iSeries and request a quote at LabX.com

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1220 Infinity II

The 1220 Infinity II LC is an integrated system for routine HPLC and UHPLC analysis in analytical and QA/QC labs. Based on the proven technology of the InfinityLab LC Series, the system's high quality and high performance help users achieve maximum return on investment and lowest cost of ownership. Users can choose from four affordable, "all-in-one" configurations while upgrade paths allow increased system capability as needs change. The walk-up upgrade and software convert the 1220 Infinity II LC into the perfect LC or LC/MS workhorse for a multi-user environment. Almost any InfinityLab LC Series module can be connected to provide maximum flexibility.

  • Optimized for everyday productivity - exceptional accuracy and superior precision for all routine applications.
  • Fully compliant with all requirements for regulatory LC applications.
  • Fast, trouble-free startup - every system is tested in its final configuration.
  • Flexibility - hardware choices and all-in-one configurations include an isocratic or gradient pump, manual injector or vial autosampler, column oven and variable wavelength detector.
  • Future proof - upgrade the system with additional hardware modules such as an InfinityLab LC Series refractive index, fluorescence or evaporative light scattering detector, or a 6000 Series single quadrupole MS.
  • Higher resolution and faster run times - an optimized pump delivers up to 600 bar to support smaller particle size columns.
  • Lower detection limits using a variable wavelength detector up to 80 Hz.
  • Maintain stable temperatures with the optional column oven.
  • High performance software – choice of either OpenLAB CDS EZChrom Edition or the fully flexible, multi-purpose OpenLAB CDS ChemStation Edition.

1260 Infinity II

The 1260 Infinity II LC offers the widest choice of modules for analytical HPLC and UHPLC. Reliable instrumentation combines with latest column technologies and advanced supplies to guarantee robust separation and detection performance. Easy column handling and superior sample logistics, from sample submission to data analysis, ensure fast turnaround times and highest instrument utilization. Seamless method transfer and stepwise upgrade paths facilitate risk-free integration in current infrastructure, for non-disruptive transition to highest performance within budget confines.

  • Compatible with conventional and ultra high performance LC – with an operating pressure of up to 600 bar, the 1260 Infinity II Quaternary Pump and the 1260 Infinity Binary Pump are a perfect match for Poroshell 120 columns.
  • Analytical and semi-preparative purifications - the wide flow range of the 1260 Infinity II Quaternary Pump (up to 10 mL/min) perfectly supports standard and semi-preparative applications.
  • Fast and precise gradients – the 1260 Infinity II Binary Pump is the perfect choice for fast and precise gradients using LC/MS, as well as UV-only systems.
  • Ultralow carryover – the multiwash capability of the 1260 Infinity II Multisampler cleans all relevant injection parts between runs. This sophisticated, integrated feature flushes the injection needle outside with three solvents, and uses seat backflush procedures to reduce carryover to less than 10 ppm.
  • Reduced cycle times – with Agilent’s unique dual-needle design, which allows the user to run samples alternately through one or the other injection path. Cycle times can be reduced to mere seconds, virtually eliminating conventional wait times – whether for large volume loadings or flushing procedures.
  • Efficient sample handling and logistics – using shallow well-plate drawers, the 1260 Infinity II Multisampler takes a maximum load of 16 microtiter plates and up to 6,144 samples – the most of any single system.
  • Efficient column handling and temperature control – the 1260 Infinity II Multicolumn Thermostat holds up to four columns with direct access to each column through a Quick-Change switching valve, delivering flexibility and eliminating the need to disconnect and reconnect columns.
  • Fast and easy connections – with InfinityLab Quick-Connect fittings to save time and trouble.
  • Higher quality data – the 1260 Infinity II Diode Array Detector HS delivers lower detection limits and higher data quality for more confidence.
  • Efficient control, acquisition and reporting – Agilent’s Instrument Control Framework (ICF) enables smooth control of Agilent LC instrumentation through third-party chromatography data systems.

1290 Infinity II

The Agilent 1290 Infinity II LC System embodies the next generation of UHPLC—with the exceptional reliability and robustness expected from Agilent, plus breakthrough technologies to maximize efficiency.

The 1290 Infinity II LC delivers unmatched separation and detection performance for ultimate confidence in results. Highest sample capacity and fastest injection cycles help to achieve the highest throughput for any application. Seamless integration into current laboratory infrastructure and smooth method transfer from legacy equipment facilitates non-disruptive transition to highest productivity and lowest total cost of ownership (TCO).

  • More chromatographic resolution – specially designed components in the sample flow path achieve lowest system dispersion.
  • Higher peak capacity for challenging separations – switch easily between single dimension UHPLC and the ultimate chromatographic power of 2D-LC.
  • Lower carryover for uncompromised data quality – multiwash capabilities of the 1290 Infinity II Multisampler reduce carryover to less than 10 ppm even for challenging compounds such as chlorohexidine.
  • Unique detection capabilities – combine lowest detection limits with an ultrawide dynamic range by using the new 1290 Infinity II HDR-DAD or 1290 Infinity II ELSD.
  • Faster injection cycles with dual-needle injection – for higher sample throughput.
  • Higher sample capacity per bench space – up to 6144 samples within the footprint of a standard Agilent stack.
  • Flexibility for all applications – through wide power, temperature, and automatically scalable injection range, and gradient options.
  • Seamless transfer of methods between LCs, regardless of the brand – facilitated by Intelligent System Emulation Technology (ISET) delivering unchanged retention time and peak resolution.
  • Seamless integration in your chromatography data system – Agilent InfinityLab LC instrumentation runs smoother when controlled through third-party chromatography data systems such as Waters Empower or Thermo Scientific’s Chromeleon using the Agilent Instrument Control Framework (ICF).
  • Lower total cost of ownership – select from a variety of tools to achieve lowest cost-per-sample.

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Advion’s range of Avant, high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) systems can be used standalone with UV and UV/Vis detector options, or with the expression compact mass spectrometer to provide seamlessly integrated LC/CMS under the full control of Advion’s simple, intuitive Mass Express software suite.

Modular, stackable design, with many options, provides custom solutions for both HPLC and UHPLC needs. From the simplest manual injection HPLC to a fully automated, streamlined UHPLC system and everything in-between, the Avant series can be configured to fit your analytical requirements and your budget.

The Avant (U)HPLC series is the latest in Advion’s innovative line of sample inlet devices for the expression CMS which include:

  • Plate Express for automated mass assays from TLC plates.
  • The ASAP direct analysis probe for solid, liquid and even air sensitive, samples.
  • vAPCI for analysis of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from head spaces, breath, and other gas samples.
  • Flow chemistry interfaces.

All these techniques can be simply, simultaneously, interfaced with the CMS so that the chemist can move quickly and effortlessly between workflows.

View more information on the Advion AVANT and request a quote at LabX.com

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Thermo Scientific

Vanquish™ Horizon UHPLC

Designed with innovative technology and fine detail, the Thermo Scientific™ Vanquish™ Horizon UHPLC System delivers a new standard in high-end UHPLC—more results with better separations and easier interaction simultaneously, without compromise. Conceived for the uniquely efficient 1.5µm solid core particle Thermo Scientific™ Accucore™ Vanquish™ C18 UHPLC column, this fully integrated and biocompatible system features high sample capacity for high-throughput workflows, industry-leading pumping performance, high S/N and linearity, two-mode thermostatting, active preheating, and more in a system that's driven by the gold-standard CDS software.

Handles the sample with more accuracy
Record data over the entire weekend. Out of the box, Vanquish Horizon system's Split Sampler HT module comes with a vial capacity of 208 samples. Increase to 8832 sample capacity (23 well plates) by adding the optional Thermo Scientific™ Vanquish™ Charger.

  • Unsurpassed sample dosage precision.
  • Innovative air stream cooling for maximum sample integrity
  • Automated workflows with barcode reading

Drives the separation with more power
Obtain consistent results from the Vanquish Binary Pump H module's smooth flow delivery and correct gradient composition. Use extended pressure range with ease—the entire system including proprietary injection and switching valves—was built for it.

  • Higher pump pressure: 1500 bar (22,000 psi) pump pressure.
  • Higher flow rate: up to 5mL/min.
  • More solvent channels: 2x3.
  • Up to nine different solvent combinations without stopping your experiment to replace solvents.

Controls the separation with more confidence
Ensure even temperature throughout using the two thermostatting modes of the Vanquish system's Column Compartment H module. Avoid performance loss from temperature effects using the system's active pre-heating to ensure solvent entering the column will match the column temperature.

  • Two thermostatting modes: still air and forced air.
  • Temperature range from 5°C to 120°C.
  • Active preheating

Directs the analyte with more sensitivity
Achieve signal-to-noise excellence from the very long light path and minimum peak dispersion of Thermo Scientific™ LightPipe™ technology in the Vanquish system's Diode Array Detector HL module.

  • Linear up to 3000 mAU.
  • Noise levels down to ±3 μAU.
  • Lowest dispersion and baseline noise

Driven by gold-standard CDS Software
Control and monitor your experiment with the award winning Thermo Scientific™ Dionex™ Chromeleon™ Chromatography Data System (CDS) software. Add the convenience of controlling and monitoring your experiment directly from a tablet using the Chromeleon App, which will be available on all major mobile platforms

Easy and reliable tool-free connections
Enjoy tool-free maintenance and easy and reliable sealing mechanism of check valves and other connections with the system's Thermo Scientific™ Viper™ Figertight Fittings technology.

More information can be found here.


Get stable retention times and maximum information capture from high-throughput, routine applications with the Thermo Scientific™ UltiMate™ 3000 Standard Binary System. The fast gradient response, excellent flow stability, and a broad choice of high-data-rate detection technologies ensure reliable results from every sample, making the UltiMate 3000 Standard Binary System an ideal choice for demanding routine environments or high-throughput research and development laboratories.

Detect low levels of neurotransmitters with confidence using the Thermo Scientific™ Dionex™ UltiMate™ 3000 Life Science Electrochemical System. This optimized tool offers extremely high sensitivity and throughput in isocratic separations for the characterization of complex biological samples, especially where sample quantities are limited. The ECD-3000RS electrochemical detection module features a selection of coulometric and amperometric sensors and SmartChip technology, making operation and method setup easy and worry-free.

Mobile phase flexibility defines the Thermo Scientific™ UltiMate™ 3000 Standard Quaternary system. With adjustable gradient delay volume, four-solvent gradient support, excellent flow stability and an unique choice of detection technologies, the Standard Quaternary system excels where moderately fast gradient response is acceptable to gain the advantages of improved flexibility e.g., multiple solvents, extended column washes, ternary or quaternary gradients and method development scenarios in high-throughput routine environments as well as in demanding research and development laboratories.

More information can be found here.

Perkin Elmer

Flexar UHPLC

For demanding applications when you need to collect more information in less time, our Flexar UHPLC is the perfect solution. This UHPLC is designed for a high productivity environment and delivers high sensitivity and resolution, exceptional flow accuracy and precision and faster results.

This ultra- high performance UHPLC system delivers the highest resolution, highest sensitivity and fastest analysis. Across food, consumer product, pharmaceutical, industrial and environmental applications, the Flexar UHPLC performs reliably and with the flexibility to perform quality testing of raw materials, determine fraud/adulteration of products, ensure lot to lot consistency, as well research-based analysis for new products.

The Perkin Elmer Flexar UHPLC is engineered for labs that need more uptime, less maintenance and the ability to handle multiple methods – and its low carry over design enables quantitatively more accurate and repeatable results. Additional flexibility includes the choice of our powerfully easy-to-use Chromera® chromatography data system (CDS) software or TotalChrom® for for either single workstation or enterprise-wide control and regulatory compliance.

The Flexar UHPLC is configured to provide the highest flow rate up to 5mL/min. with a maximum of 18K psi, a high speed autosampler for fast injection rates, choice of ovens and detectors, including the PDA Plus, which offers the highest acquisition rates in the industry.

More information can be found here.


UHPLC ChromasterUltra Rs

The ChromasterUltra Rs is the realization of high resolution and high sensitivity, achieved through advanced UHPLC technology.

High Resolution - When used together with the LaChromUltra II column, the reduced volume system ChromasterUltra Rs can achieve exceptionally high separation performance. The combination of this column and the ChromasterUltra Rs enables a system pressure tolerance of 140 MPa with 50,000 or more theoretical plates per column.

High Sensitivity - A total reflection type capillary flow cell is incorporated into the diode array detector to cope with the increasing need for high sensitivity analyses of hazardous substances, genotoxic impurities, etc. A high sensitivity flow cell with an optical path length of 65 mm is also available. In addition to high sensitivity analyses, carryover is reduced through the use of a double corkscrew mixer.

Usability - All modules can be controlled from the Graphical User Interface (GUI) controller. The GUI is comprised of a color LCD monitor (5.7-inch color TFT display with LED back-light) and a touch panel made for easy viewing and simple operation. Up to 10 programs including a timer function, pre-analysis tasks (Wakeup), and post-analysis tasks (Sleep) can be created for a system. The GUI controller enables you to check the status of consumables usage for all units that are connected to the system.

More information can be found here.