Bigger is not necessarily better. Advances in ion chromatography technology have reduced the size of ion chromatography instruments while increasing their speed and sensitivity. Ion chromatography refers to the separation, identification and quantification of anions and cations. Ion chromatography analysis can be used to determine qualitative and/or quantitative conclusions about a material’s composition.
Ion chromatography is most often used for materials analysis in the environmental, industrial, biological, pharmaceutical, chemical, and food sectors. Ion chromatography can be used to determine additives and nutrient content in foods and to analyze contaminant materials. However, the water-related applications of ion chromatography are becoming increasingly popular as ion chromatography can be used to analyze ground water for pollution and water for power generation.
Ion Chromatography Needs High Throughput
“The most important characteristic of [ion chromatography] that researchers look for when purchasing a new IC instrument is ease-of-use, robust and rugged hardware along with high throughput,” says Jay Gandhi, Business Development Manager at Metrohm, an ion chromatography instrumentation manufacturer.
Ion chromatography technologies have been evolving over the past several years. According to Gandhi “new and miniaturized electronics have made the instruments smaller with better sensitivity.”
Brief History of Ion Chromatography
Ion chromatography was first performed around 1850 when H.Thomson and J.T. Way used ion methods to treat a variety of clays with ammonium sulfate or carbonate in solution in order to extract the ammonia and release calcium.
Modern ion chromatography was developed during World War II when the U.S., UK and Canada worked together on the Manhattan Project to develop the first atomic bomb. Scientists needed a method to separate and concentrate the radioactive elements and chose adsorbents that latch onto charged uranium elements, which could then be differentially eluted. This technique was developed into the systems used today to purify biologicals and inorganics.
Advancement in Speed
The speed of Ion Chromatography analysis had previously been restricted by the pressure and flow rate limits of the ion chromatography hardware. These conditions required the use of large particles and long columns. However, numerous recent advances have seen faster ion chromatography separations by reducing the column length while maintaining large particle usage. Further increases in speed for simple samples are expected in the future.
Ion chromatography, combined with High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC), is simple, fast and accurate. Ion chromatography testing can be an essential tool for guaranteeing quality control and is often the only technique that can precisely ensure quality control or cleanliness of a product following the manufacturing process.
Learn more about Ion Chromatography analysis by contacting Innovatech Labs online or by calling one of our highly trained analysts at 888-740-LABS (5227).