The State of the Art and Future Trends of Size-Exclusion Chromatography Packings and Columns - - Chromatography Online
The State of the Art and Future Trends of Size-Exclusion Chromatography Packings and Columns

LCGC North America
Volume 7, Issue 30, pp. 544-563


Given the maturity of SEC column technology and that the fundamental parameters affecting column resolution and performance have been well studied over the years, most advances are likely to take the form of minor modifications and improvements to satisfy specific needs and applications, such as alterations in surface chemistry of packings or reduced column dimensions to allow coupling to MS. Nevertheless, the development of smaller particle sizes continues and could lead to columns with marked resolution improvements over existing technologies. Research in the area of hybrid silica and organosiloxane particle technology appears very encouraging, especially since these particles have improved chemical stability, reduced silanol activity, and larger pore sizes compared with silica particles. Finally, considering the interest in high-pressure HPLC systems, this is seen as the most significant and likely route for future SEC column development.

Because our goal as analytical chemists is to provide MWD data of samples, perhaps we should not forget to include other nonchromatographic means of high-resolution separations, especially for high-molecular-weight macromolecules: thermal and flow field-flow fractionation, modern ultracentrifugation, and matrix-assisted laser-desorption ionization time-of-flight MS. In addition to these techniques, the molecular weights of biopolymers, especially proteins, are being characterized using one- or two-dimensional polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis and capillary zone electrophoresis, all of which represent active areas of innovation and research (18). Suffice it to say, these areas have their limitations but offer some interesting advantages over SEC.


Both authors are indebted to Dr. Ronald E. Majors of Agilent Technologies, Inc., for his help and guidance in the preparation of this manuscript. One of the authors (H.G.B.) expresses his gratitude to Cara Tomasek, Tosoh Bioscience, for supplying some of the figures for publication.

Howard G. Barth
Howard G. Barth is now retired from the DuPont Company, where he was senior research associate. He is available for consultation in chromatography, analytical chemistry, and technical editing and writing. Please direct correspondence to:

Greg D. Saunders
Greg D. Saunders is the product manager responsible for the GPC/SEC consumables portfolio at Agilent Technologies.

Ronald E. Majors
Ronald E. Majors "Column Watch" Editor Ronald E. Majors is a Senior Scientist in the Columns and Supplies Division at Agilent Technologies (Wilmington, Delaware), and is a member of LCGC's editorial advisory board. Direct correspondence about this column to


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