• What Is Multidimensional Chromatography?

What Is Multidimensional Chromatography?

May 01 2015 Read 8963 Times

Multidimensional chromatography is a chromatographic technique which is capable of delivering heightened separation performance for complex and difficult substances. It achieves this by passing the sample through two different separation stages. This is achieved by using multiple columns, each with a different stationary phase.

By positioning these columns at right angles to each other, it is possible to selectively choose elements from the first column and transfer them to the second column for more thorough separation. The presence of this second column allows for the separation of more complex substances which cannot be thoroughly processed through the use of a single column alone.

Multidimensional chromatography can be applied in either gas or liquid chromatography. All that is required is that a distinct separation phase is used in each column. Up until now, various different combinations of separation phases have been combined to produce improved results.

Why the Need for Multidimensional Chromatography?

There are a whole host of highly complex mixtures which are desirable to be separated for qualitative and quantitative analysis, but simply can’t be due to their complex nature. They can, of course, be separated to some extent through a unidimensional chromatography process, but even in optimum conditions and with the most efficient column, full separation from single column chromatography will never be achieved.

However, by combining two different chromatographic separations stages, which have different selectivities for the desired analytes, these mixtures can be more effectively broken down. This is best achieved by preserving the sample after an initial separation, then transferring that sample to a second dimension for additional analysis.

Multidimensional chromatography can be used for a wide variety of applications, including:

Multidimensional Chromatography: Then and Now

The first recorded use of multidimensional chromatography is believed to have been conducted by R. Consden, who successfully separated out 22 hydrochlorides from amino acids using paper chromatography.

Two-dimensional thin-layer chromatography (2D-TLC) was pioneered by Justus G. Kirchner and soon became the preferred technique for separating complex substances. Subsequently, innovations were made in the field of two-dimensional gas chromatography, which was followed by liquid chromatography in 1978. The discipline was detailed by F. Erni and R. W. Frei, who set out the fundamental principles involved in 2D-LC. In 1990, M.M. Bushey and J.W. Jorgenson published their hugely influential work Chromatography of Proteins, which took the technique a few more steps forward.

In the last decade, great strides have been made in the practice and it is now considered in all realms of the scientific world. Indeed, it has been made one of the three core principles at the upcoming 42nd International Symposium on High Performance Liquid Phase Separation and Related Techniques. The event will take place from June 21st to 25th in Geneva, Switzerland, and promises to examine the field of multidimensional chromatography in a series of talks, lectures and exhibitions.

Image Source: Bio Lab  
Read comments0

Do you like or dislike what you have read? Why not post a comment to tell others / the manufacturer and our Editor what you think. To leave comments please complete the form below. Providing the content is approved, your comment will be on screen in less than 24 hours. Leaving comments on product information and articles can assist with future editorial and article content. Post questions, thoughts or simply whether you like the content.

Digital Edition

Chromatography Today - Buyers Guide 2019

December 2018

In This Edition Articles Fundamental Aspects - Improved Biomacromolecule Separations Using Superficially Porous Particles with a 1000 Å Pore Diameter - A Deep Characterisation of Monoclo...

View all digital editions



Jan 30 2019 Amsterdam, Netherlands

World Congress on Chromatography

Jan 31 2019 Paris, France


Feb 04 2019 Dubai, UAE

China Lab 2019

Feb 26 2019 Guangzhou, China


Mar 12 2019 Tel Aviv, Israel

View all events