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Chromatography is a laboratory technique used to separate a mixture. The mixture is dissolved in a fluid called the mobile phase, which carries it through a structure holding another material called the stationary phase. The various constituents of the mixture travel at different speeds, causing them to separate. The separation is based on differential partitioning between the mobile and stationary phases. Subtle differences in a compound’s partition coefficient result in differential retention on the stationary phase and thus affect the separation.

Chromatography may be preparative or analytical. The purpose of preparative chromatography is to separate the components of a mixture for later use, and is thus a form of purification. Analytical chromatography is done normally with smaller amounts of material and is for establishing the presence or measuring the relative proportions of analytes in a mixture. The two are not mutually exclusive.

Chromatography (liquid or gas)–mass spectrometry (LC-MS or GC-MS) is an analytical chemistry technique that combines the physical separation capabilities of liquid chromatography (or HPLC) or gas chromatography (or GC) with the mass analysis capabilities of mass spectrometry (MS).

ICAM equipment includes:

  • LECO – Pegasus III at The University of Manchester. 2-D Gas chromatography using two columns of differing phases and internal diameters connected in series with high resolving capability.
  • Waters Acquity UPC2/SQD at The University of Manchester. Convergence chromatography system using both gases and liquids for UPLC-MS with single Quadrupole Mass Spectrometer.
  • CombiFlash Rf200UV at University of Cambridge. Reversed phase purification and operates at various pressures for separation.
  • Waters LCT Premier at University of Cambridge. Coupled to TOF (Time of Flight) mass analyser with W optics for enhanced resolution.
  • Metrohm Ion Chromatograph at University of Cambridge. For determination of anions, cations and polar substances in the parts per billion range.
  • Waters nanoACQUITY UPLC at The University of Manchester. Capilliary and nanoflow rates for high-resolution chromatographic separation optimised for columns ranging from 1mm to 75μm internal diameter.