Reduction of through-pore size and skeleton size of a monolithic silica column was attempted to provide high separation efficiency in a short time. Monolithic silica columns were prepared to have various sizes of skeletons (∼1-2 μm) and through-pores (∼2-8 μm) in a fused-silica capillary (50-200 μm I.D.). The columns were evaluated in HPLC after derivatization to C18 phase. It was possible to prepare monolithic silica structures in capillaries of up to 200 μm I.D. from a mixture of tetramethoxysilane and methyltrimethoxysilane. As expected, a monolithic silica column with smaller domain size showed higher column efficiency and higher pressure drop. High external porosity (>80%) and large through-pores resulted in high permeability (K=8·10-14-1.3·10-12 m2) that was 2-30 times higher than that of a column packed with 5-μm silica particles. The monolithic silica columns prepared in capillaries produced a plate height of about 8-12 μm with an 80% aqueous acetonitrile mobile phase at a linear velocity of 1 mm/s. Separation impedance, E, was found to be as low as 100 under optimum conditions, a value about an order of magnitude lower than reported for conventional columns packed with 5-μm particles. Although a column with smaller domain size generally resulted in higher separation impedance and the lower total performance, the monolithic silica columns showed performance beyond the limit of conventional particle-packed columns under pressure-driven conditions.
- Monolithic columns
- Stationary phases, LC