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Anal Chem. 2014 Jan 7;86(1):913-9. doi: 10.1021/ac4035828. Epub 2013 Dec 23.

Refractive index-based detection of gradient elution liquid chromatography using chip-integrated microring resonator arrays.

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  • 1Department of Chemistry, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign , 600 S. Mathews Ave., Urbana, IL 61801, United States.

Abstract

Refractive index-based sensors offer attractive characteristics as nondestructive and universal detectors for liquid chromatographic separations, but a small dynamic range and sensitivity to minor thermal perturbations limit the utility of commercial RI detectors for many potential applications, especially those requiring the use of gradient elutions. As such, RI detectors find use almost exclusively in sample abundant, isocratic separations when interfaced with high-performance liquid chromatography. Silicon photonic microring resonators are refractive index-sensitive optical devices that feature good sensitivity and tremendous dynamic range. The large dynamic range of microring resonators allows the sensors to function across a wide spectrum of refractive indices, such as that encountered when moving from an aqueous to organic mobile phase during a gradient elution, a key analytical advantage not supported in commercial RI detectors. Microrings are easily configured into sensor arrays, and chip-integrated control microrings enable real-time corrections of thermal drift. Thermal controls allow for analyses at any temperature and, in the absence of rigorous temperature control, obviates extended detector equilibration wait times. Herein, proof of concept isocratic and gradient elution separations were performed using well-characterized model analytes (e.g., caffeine, ibuprofen) in both neat buffer and more complex sample matrices. These experiments demonstrate the ability of microring arrays to perform isocratic and gradient elutions under ambient conditions, avoiding two major limitations of commercial RI-based detectors and maintaining comparable bulk RI sensitivity. Further benefit may be realized in the future through selective surface functionalization to impart degrees of postcolumn (bio)molecular specificity at the detection phase of a separation. The chip-based and microscale nature of microring resonators also make it an attractive potential detection technology that could be integrated within lab-on-a-chip and microfluidic separation devices.

PMID:
24328221
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3950336
Free PMC Article
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