Thin layer chromatography (TLC) is a planar chromatographic technique introduced in the 1950s as a fast, easy and inexpensive
method for qualitative analysis. Just as with column chromatography, the chemistry and size of the particles (as well as
the thickness of the layer) affects the speed and nature of the separations that are possible. After the sample is applied
near one edge, the plate is developed by dipping the edge into solvent and allowing the separation to take place. Once the
process nears completion, the plate is dried and various methods can be used to derive qualitative and quantitative measurements
from the plate. These methods include densitometry, fluorometry and even mass spectrometry.
2009 TLC Industrial Distribution
The three largest industrial applications for thin layer chromatography are in clinical, pharmaceutical and food testing accounting
for more than half of the market demand, combined. One of the most common specific types of clinical tests performed with
TLC is for the presence of drugs of abuse. In the pharmaceutical industry, TLC is widely used in production and quality assurance
applications. The presence or absence of substances can be determined qualitatively, while quantitative tests can determine
the purity of a drug sample. Within the food industry, TLC is used for many different applications, ranging from lipid separation
to food dye analysis.
Although TLC can be fully automated, it is commonly a manual technique. Consequently, aftermarket supplies and consumables
dominate the market, which are composed of sorbents, reagents, standardized TLC plates and capillary tubes for sample application,
among a host of other small, inexpensive yet crucial products. TLC faces competition from HPLC and, particularly in the pharmaceutical
industry, flash chromatography.
The foregoing data was extracted and adapted from SDi's Global Assessment Report, 11th Edition. For more information, contact
Glenn Cudiamat, VP of Research Services, Strategic Directions International, Inc., 6242 Westchester Parkway, Suite 100, Los
Angeles, CA 90045, (310) 641-4982, fax: (310) 641-8851, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.