This article reexamines the fundamental concepts of high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) to bring fresh insights
to how we perform HPLC today. It reviews the prominent advantages that render HPLC indispensable and comments on its many
perceived limitations. Several opportunities with far-reaching impacts in life science for the separation scientist are described.
This is the second instalment of a new column in LCGC Asia Pacific titled "Perspectives in Modern HPLC," which will be published every quarter and will feature fresh perspectives, innovative
approaches, best practices, megatrends, and emerging opportunities in this ever-evolving field of separation science. The
first instalment in the April 2013 issue was devoted to new high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) products introduced
at Pittcon 2013 (1).
HPLC is a dominant analytical technique with "mature" technologies that have been widely practiced for five decades. Innovations
such as ultrahigh-pressure liquid chromatography (UHPLC), liquid chromatography–mass spectrometry (LC–MS), two-dimensional
liquid chromatography (2D-LC), chiral separations, core–shell columns, and novel stationary phases have helped drive HPLC
to higher performance in diverse applications, yielding faster speed, higher resolution, greater sensitivity, and increased
precision. The practice of HPLC is no longer limited to specialists or "chromatographers," but is now widely performed by
students, chemists, biologists, production workers, and other novices in academia, research, and quality control laboratories.
More than $4 billion of HPLC equipment, columns, and accessories were sold worldwide in 2012 (2).
There is no shortage of information on HPLC (3–9). Hundreds of books, thousands of articles, and millions of web citations
are available. My goals are to reexamine the big picture of HPLC and its applications from a user's perspective. I will strive
to find approaches to make it more productive or relevant. I am excited to be a new columnist for LCGC Asia Pacific and promise to dig deeper and comment on ideas to make HPLC more exciting and less arduous for all practitioners. A listing
of my tentative topics for 2013 and beyond can be found in the addendum.
In this instalment, the essence of modern HPLC is discussed — first, by examining the reasons that make HPLC so ubiquitous;
second, by reviewing the fundamental chromatographic principles on how they can guide the way we conduct HPLC separations;
and finally, by commenting on some less-obvious opportunities with far-reaching impacts or immediate job prospects for separation