A. Podgornik, M. Barut, A. Štrancar
Encyclopedia of Chromatography DOI: 10.1081/E-ECHR 120016288, 2003
Chromatographic columns are typically several centimeters in length, resulting in a high number of column plates, and, consequently, such columns have high efficiency. These properties allow even very similar molecules to be separated. This is especially true for smaller molecules, where the separation is based on selective migration. For large molecules, a different separation mechanism is usually required. Large molecules normally interact with the matrix at several binding sites. Consequently, their adsorption isotherms are very steep, almost rectangular. For such molecules, there exists only a very narrow mobile phase range within which they interact with the active moieties on the stationary phase, but are not irreversibly retained. To elute them from the matrix, a change of the mobile phase composition is required. Therefore the separation is based upon the selective elution and requires the use of gradient chromatographic methods. For this type of separation, the column length is less important and the efficient separations can be achieved even with extremely short columns.
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