Chromatography is defined as a laboratory technique to separate the components in simple or complex mixtures. There are different types of chromatography, like paper chromatography, thin-layer chromatography, high-performance liquid chromatography, etc. It depends on the type of mobile phase used. If the mobile phase is liquid, the technique falls under liquid chromatography. Chromatography functions as a separation technique because different components in a mixture have different attractions to the stationary and the mobile phase. Chromatography is often used in petroleum industries and bioanalytical fields.
Scientists use the method of chromatography to separate organic and inorganic compounds. It is used as an analytical tool where the output is fed a detector to read the contents of the mixture. It is also used as a separation and purification tool to remove impurities from organic solutions, particularly if the components of the mixture are heat-sensitive.
- A precise and simple technique for separation and purification.
- It requires very low sample volumes.
- It works on a wide range of samples including drugs, food particles, plastics, pesticides, air and water samples, and tissue extracts.
- Mixture components separated by chromatography can be collected and analyzed individually.
- It can be used to separate highly complex mixtures easily.
Chromatography is not a new technique in chemistry and we will see new implementations of this technique in foreseeable future. Chromatography has many applications. It is used to monitor air quality and to test drinking water. Chemical fingerprinting, species identification, detection of drugs in urine, etc. are its other applications. Different types of chromatography have different applications albeit the principle remaining the same.
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