Cucurbit[n]urils (CBs) possess unique structures and physicochemical properties as well as excellent thermal stability. These characteristics concur to make them good candidates for stationary phases in capillary gas chromatographic (GC) separations. Herein, CB7 and CB8 in neat (CB7, CB8) and binary (CB7-CB8) forms were investigated for this purpose. After they were statically coated onto fused silica capillary columns, the CB columns were evaluated in terms of chromatographic parameters, separation performance, thermal stability and column repeatability. The columns had efficiencies ranging from 1060 to 2200 plates per meter determined by n-dodecane at 100°C and exhibited nonpolar to weakly polar nature. These CBs columns showed good separation performance for a wide range of analytes such as n-alkanes, aromatic hydrocarbons, esters, aldehydes, ketones, alcohols and the Grob mixture, and exhibited nice peak shapes for analytes that are liable to peak-tailing in GC analysis. The results also proved the good column repeatability and thermal stability of the CB columns. No noticeable decreases in both retention times and resolution or appreciable baseline drift were observed after the columns were conditioned up to 250°C (CB8 and CB7-CB8 columns) or 280°C (CB7 column). This work demonstrates the promising future of CBs as a new class of GC stationary phase. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report on using CB stationary phases in capillary GC separations.
Keywords: Capillary gas chromatography; Cucurbituril; Cucurbituril; Separation performance; Stationary phases.
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