Liquid chromatography techniques target lab efficiency

The latest developments in liquid chromatography techniques improve resolution and precision, simplify the handling of complex sample matrices, and improve usability

Growing demand for improved analytical quality, ease of use and seamless integration into many laboratory locations is behind Agilent Technologies’ new 1290 Infinity II LC (liquid chromatography) system. The new flagship of its 1200 Infinity series LC portfolio, the system allows operators, scientists and laboratory managers to reach new levels of laboratory efficiency.

Stefan Schuette, vice president and general manager of the company’s liquid phase separations division, said that new system was a result of close work with customers which helped to identify their most challenging LC workflow issues and bottlenecks (Fig. 1).

He points to three key benefits of the 1290 Infinity II LC system. First is analytical efficiency, including high quality analytical data and chromatographic resolution/precision, broad dynamic range detection, and low carry-over to ensure uncompromised data.

Second is instrument efficiency. Here, ease of use and flexibility to accommodate changing separation conditions reduces turnaround times.

Unmatched throughput is enabled by highest sample capacity per bench space and fastest injection cycles.

Finally there is laboratory efficiency. The new system has been designed to seamlessly integrate into any existing laboratory set-up by enabling smooth method transfer from any legacy equipment.

The 1290 Infinity II LC features eight new modules and a variety of Agilent A-line accessories to further optimise chromatographic efficiency and laboratory workflow. Additionally, the OpenLAB chromatography data system (CDS) enables simple LC instrument control, fully traceable data management, convenient generation of results and comprehensive reporting capabilities.

New from Shimadzu Scientific Instruments is the Nexera-e comprehensive 2D liquid chromatograph (2D-LC), which is designed to offer a powerful separation method for the most complex sample matrices.

According to the company, the system provides a new level of knowledge and understanding of sample analytes, which is beneficial to scientists analysing pharmaceutical impurities, proteins, lipids, peptides, food extracts, and natural products.

Comprehensive 2D-LC combines two independent separation modes orthogonally in combination with a dual-loop/dual-valve alternate switching system to increase separation efficiency. The combination of different modes enables the separation of peaks that are difficult to separate using conventional LC. In addition, says the company, the system achieves the highest possible theoretical plates for LC separation.

Because ultra-high-speed analysis of comprehensive 2D-LC requires quick data sampling, the Nexera-e incorporates the Nexera X2 photo-diode array detector, SPD-M30A, which features high sampling rates up to 200 Hz.

The Nexera-e may also be used with the LCMS-8050 triple quadrupole LC-MS/MS. This features ultra-high-speed data scanning using ultra-fast mass spectrometry (UFMS) technologies. Combining the two provides an additional orthogonal dimension to this powerful chromatography separation technology.

LCxLC-Assist Software is used for configuration settings as it provides easy set-up of all the 2D-LC instrument parameters. Acquired data is converted to 2D contour plotting using ChromSquare, which is dedicated software for 2D-LC analysis. A peak on the chromatogram is recognised as a spot or feature on the contour plot. In addition, ChromSquare software displays an MS spectrum in real time, and is able to calculate a standard curve for quantitative analysis based on the contour spot.

For its part, Thermo Fisher Scientific has designed its new Vanquish ultra high performance liquid chromatography (UHPLC) system from the ground up in order to provide new levels of performance, productivity and usability when used as both a standalone system or with the latest mass spectrometers.

One big difference from standard UHPLC systems is Vanquish’s monolithic case. Rugged and flexible, the system stands about 25% lower than comparable modular stacks. It is also rugged, flexible and easy to service (Fig.2).

At the heart of the Vanquish concept is the new family of Thermo Scientific Accucore Vanquish UHPLC columns. These have been specially designed to optimise performance. They feature 1.5µm solid core particles utilising core enhanced technology to take full advantage of the Vanquish system’s 1500bar (22,000 psi) maximum pump pressure and flow rate up to 5ml/min to achieve ultra-short diffusion path lengths and highly efficient separations.

Other features which add to the system’s performance, throughput and usability include: SmartFlow pumping technology designed for highly reproducible retention times; an insulated auto sampler compartment with new air-to-air cooling, which protects vials from water condensation, even in hot and humid environments; and gold-standard Thermo Scientific Dionex Chromeleon CDS.

When high sample throughput is needed, the optional Thermo Scientific Vanquish Charger is a fully integrated robotic module that allows unattended, environmentally controlled sample management and loading into the Vanquish UHPLC system. 

Finally, the latest offering from Waters is a range of new size exclusion chromatography (SEC) columns used in the characterisation of proteins. For use with Waters Alliance HPLC, Waters ACQUITY UHPLC H-Class systems and other HPLC/UHPLC instruments, the XBridge Protein BEH SEC columns deliver optimal throughput and resolution for size-based separations of protein-based biotherapeutics.

The columns are packed with 3.5 μm particles and are available in either 200 or 450 Å pore sizes for analysing proteins and other biomolecules ranging in molecular weight from 10,000 – 1,500,000 Da. 

The columns are designed to operate at higher flow rates and pressures than traditional silica-based SEC columns. Together, these characteristics result in either increased sample throughput or, by using multiple columns in series, greater component resolution.

The company says that using its diol-bonded, BEH technology particles delivers outstanding column longevity while its proprietary manufacturing process ensures unmatched batch-to-batch and column-to-column consistency for reproducible results.

Agilent/Shimadzu tie-up improves lab choice

Agilent Technologies and Shimadzu have released gas chromatography (GC) instrument control for their respective chromatography data systems (CDS). The move provides customers in analytical laboratories with more freedom of choice when selecting a chromatography data system.

Agilent has released drivers for Shimadzu GC-2010, GC-2010 Plus and GC-2014 integrating to Agilent’s OpenLAB CDS, and Shimadzu has released drivers to control Agilent 6890, 6850, 7820 and 7890 GC instruments in Shimadzu’s LabSolutions. These releases are the result of the joint collaboration – employing RapidControl (RC.NET) instrument drivers – announced in May 2013 to preserve customers’ investments in workflows and operating procedures.

This is the latest move in a number of recent collaborations between the two companies. For example, since mid-2013 Agilent’s OpenLAB CDS has supported Shimadzu’s Nexera and Prominence HPLC lines and Shimadzu’s LabSolutions CDS has supported Agilent’s 1100, 1200, 1260 and 1290 series instruments.

“Agilent continues to follow an open systems approach for the laboratory to deliver value to our customers,” said Bruce von Herrmann, vice president and general manager of Agilent’s software and informatics business. “To reduce costs and enhance the customer experience, we are working with other manufacturers like Shimadzu to enable full and reliable control of lab instrumentation from any CDS. These new releases demonstrate that Rapid Control is the predominant industry standard for analytical instrument control.”

Masahito Ueda, Shimadzu general manager of the GC business unit in the analytical and measuring instruments division, also welcomed the tie-up: “The adoption and support of RC.NET drivers provide a more integrated solution to customers who require a single CDS product to support seamless multi-vendor control of all instruments in their laboratory.”

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