How to Utilize the True Performance of Monolithic Silica Columns

J Sep Sci. 2004 Nov;27(15-16):1292-302. doi: 10.1002/jssc.200401921.


Ways of utilizing the true separation efficiency of monolithic silica (MS) columns were studied. The true performance of MS columns, both regular-sized (rod-type clad with PEEK resin, 4.6 mm ID, 10 cm) and capillary sized (in 100 or 200 microm ID fused silica capillary, 25-140 cm) was evaluated by calculating the contribution of extra-column effects. HETP values of 7-9 microm were observed for solutes having retention factors (kvalues) of up to 4 for rod columns and up to 15 for a capillary column. The high permeability of MS columns allowed the use of long columns, with several connected together in the case of rod columns. Narrow-bore connectors gave good results. Peak variance caused by a column connector ranges from 50 to 70% of that caused by one rod-type column for up to three connectors or four columns in 80% methanol, but the addition of a 4th or 5th connector to add a 5th and 6th column, respectively, caused a much greater increase in peak variance, especially for long-retained solutes, which is greater than the variance caused by one rod column. Rod columns seem to show slightly lower efficiency at a pressure higher than 10 MPa or so. The use of acetonitrile-water as a mobile phase better preserved the ability of individual rod columns to generate up to 100,000 theoretical plates with 14 columns connected. Methods for eliminating extra-column effects in micro-HPLC were also studied. Split injection and on-column detection resulted in optimum performance. A long MS capillary measuring 140 cm produced 160,000 theoretical plates. The column efficiency of a capillary column was not affected by the pressure, showing advantages over the rod columns that exhibited peak broadening caused by connectors and pressure.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid / instrumentation*
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid / methods*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Silicon Dioxide / chemistry*


  • Silicon Dioxide