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May the (Chromatography) Force Be With You

Team TFS
Team TFS

Happy Star Wars Day, a day which we get to say ‘May the Fourth be with you’!

forceWhile many of you may be self-proclaimed Star Wars Jedi, Padawans or Wookiees, have you ever thought about how the Force is applied in chromatography?

Force (F) can be derived using pressure (P) and area (A), where F = P*A; why is this important in chromatography?

Force is particularly important in chromatography when considering your flow rate and back pressure with different column formats that affect the A term.

Force and pressure go hand-in-hand in ultra-high performance liquid chromatography (UHPLC), as the trend toward smaller particles and reduced column diameters are pursued. In order to drive the mobile phase through the packed beds of these smaller columns, we must use high-pressure pumps that can handle the back pressures generated by these smaller columns. The Thermo Scientific™ Vanquish™ Horizon UHPLC allows users to push the limits with 1500 bar of pressure to achieve faster separations and use smaller particles, smaller diameter columns and longer column lengths. Check out this blog post on why 1500 bar for analytical chromatography is needed.

There are also the intermolecular forces, such as hydrogen-bonding and dipole-dipole interactions in chromatography, which help retain the analyte to the stationary phase of your column. The stronger the intermolecular forces, the stronger and longer the compound is retained in the column.

Unfortunately we cannot control the separation with our mind, but we can embrace the intermolecular force and use it to our advantage to control our separation by changing the mobile phase composition, pH, or changing your stationary phase. Luckily we offer a wide variety of column chemistries and formats that work perfectly with the Vanquish UHPLC.

Another Vanquish UHPLC and Star Wars coincidence?

The Vanquish happens to have some pretty cool status lights that quickly tell you the status of each module. The idle blue lights on the Vanquish resemble the blue plasma blade of the lightsaber used by Anakin Skywalker (*spoiler alert* before he became Darth Vader), Luke Skywalker, and most recently Rey. And just like the series, the red light saber of the Sith and Dark Jedi are warning signs that something is wrong with the Vanquish UHPLC.

Want to test your Star Wars trivia and get prepped for the new ‘Solo: A Star Wars Story’ coming out in a few weeks? Check out this fun blog post here.

Embrace the force of Vanquish UHPLC and improve your chromatography.

“Do. Or do not. There is no try.” - Yoda