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Ion Chromatography - tips and tricks

Deutsche Metrohm GmbH & Co. KG


One of the basic requirements for ensuring reliable chromatographic analyses is a high-performance separation column. Users of IC should regularly check the performance of their column. If a drop in performance becomes apparent, steps can be taken in good time to restore or maintain the proper functioning of the column. Find out here how you can assess column performance, which parameters you should monitor, and which measures you can take to ensure excellent column performance.

First-time use of a new column

When you use a column for the very first time, we recommend that you check its initial performance. The Certificate of Analysis (CoA for short), which you receive with every purchase of a Metrohm column, is your source of reference here. Record a chromatogram and use the analysis conditions specified in the CoA, which include flow rate, temperature, eluent, and analyte concentration. The column's performance can be evaluated by comparing some of the result parameters with the values listed in the CoA, for example, retention time, theoretical plates, asymmetry, resolution, peak height, and peak area.

Regular monitoring of column performance

Columns that are already in use should be monitored regularly too. We recommend carrying out these tests with check standards under application conditions, as performance can vary depending on the type of analysis and associated analysis conditions as well as the instrumental setup. If a drop in performance is observed, the requirements of the application are crucial in deciding whether it can still be used. How to determine column performance based on five performance indicators is described in the following. You will also find out how you can prevent or rectify a decline in performance.

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