Performance of a Monolithic Silica Column in a Capillary Under Pressure-Driven and Electrodriven Conditions

Anal Chem. 2000 Mar 15;72(6):1275-80. doi: 10.1021/ac990942q.


A continuous macroporous silica gel network was prepared in a fused-silica capillary and evaluated in reversed-phase liquid chromatography. Under pressure-driven conditions, the monolithic silica column derivatized to C18 phase (100 microns in diameter, 25 cm in length, silica skeleton size of approximately 2.2 microns) produced plate heights of about 23 and 81 microns at 0.5 mm/s with a pressure drop of 0.4 kg/cm2, and at 4.0 mm/s with 3.6 kg/cm2, respectively, in 90% acetonitrile for hexylbenzene with a k value of 0.7. The separation impedance, E, calculated for the present monolithic silica column was much smaller at a low flow rate than those for particle-packed columns, although higher E values were obtained at a higher flow rate. Considerable dependence of column efficiency on the linear velocity of the mobile phase was observed despite the small size of the silica skeletons. A major source of band broadening in the HPLC mode was found in the A term of the van Deemter equation. The performance of the continuous silica capillary column in the electrodriven mode was much better than that in the pressure-driven mode. Plate heights of 7-8 microns were obtained for alkylbenzenes at 0.7-1.3 mm/s, although the electroosmotic flow was slow. In HPLC and CEC mode, the dependency of plate height on k values of the solutes was observed as seen in open tube chromatography presumably due to the contribution of the large through-pores. Since monolithic silica capillary columns can provide high permeability, the pressure-driven operation at a very low pressure can afford a separation speed similar to CEC at a high electric field.