What is Convergence Chromatography? What are the benefits of CO2-based separations?

By August 4, 2017


New educational primer defines the basics of UPC2

In our recently released primer, “Beginner’s Guide to Ultra-Performance Convergence Chromatography,” also known to laboratories as UPC2, we highlight many aspects of CO2-based chromatography and focus on its three major analytical advantages: Simplicity, speed, and orthogonality.

Topics in this educational book include:

  • The scientific principles of modern supercritical fluid chromatography (SFC), and why and how it has evolved to what we call convergence chromatography
  • Challenges and best practices in how to interface mass spectrometry (MS) with UPC2
  • Discussion on method development strategies using Waters SFC column chemistries, Torus and Trefoil

Waters’ ACQUITY Ultra-Performance Convergence Chromatography technology, or ACQUITY UPC2, has enabled scientists to employ liquid or compressed CO2 as a solvent in chromatographic separations in a reproducible and robust manner. Compressed CO2, apart from being “green” and lower cost than traditional solvents used in liquid chromatography, offers advantageous properties as a mobile-phase solvent such as low viscosity and miscibility with compounds having wide polarity ranges.

ACQUITY UPC2 instruments and columns have also addressed the many obstacles that industry laboratories have historically faced when trying to use SFC or compressed CO2 for chromatographic separations, namely instrument robustness, reliability, and repeatability. Since the Waters system’s introduction in 2010, more than 250 peer-reviewed papers have been published demonstrating a variety of applications of the technology.

As illustrated in our primer, using UPC2 separations for laboratory analysis offer three major advantages:

  • Simplicity — Since CO2 is miscible with a wide range of solvents, minimum sample preparation is often required before injecting a sample in UPC2. Additionally, the same instrument method can be used to analyze very non-polar to considerably-high polar compounds. These attributes simplify what can often be a complicated workflow in analytical laboratories that involve multiple sample preparation and chromatographic steps.
  • Speed — Due to its low viscosity, CO2-based mobile phases can offer near-optimum separation efficiency even at very high flow rates. This can lead to an up to 10X increase in the speed of analysis compared to HPLC and even UPLC techniques.
  • Orthogonality — Most often, CO2-based chromatography, employing polar stationary phases, generates orthogonal results compared to reversed-phase chromatography.

We have seen that interest in analytical SFC is on the steady rise since 2010 and we trust that one of the primary reasons for this increase is due to the availability of more robust commercial instruments. We believe that this primer will help many analytical scientists see the value and the immense potential of CO2-based chromatography in solving their everyday analytical challenges.

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