The first high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) column for enantioselective chromatography was introduced commercially in 1981. This chromatographic mode has now become the method of choice for the analysis of chiral pharmaceutical compounds, making previous approaches, such as optical rotation, almost completely obsolete. However, supercritical fluid chromatography (SFC) has been gaining increasing recognition as a complementary technique to HPLC for pharmaceutical enantioselective analysis. Gas chromatography (GC) and capillary electrophoresis (CE) remain very useful for particular applications.
Recent progress in supercritical fluid chromatography (SFC) instrumentation has led to renewed interest in the technique as a powerful tool for chiral and achiral separations of pharmaceutical molecules, for both analytical and preparative purposes. The “green” aspect of the technique and low running costs make SFC technology particularly attractive for preparative chromatography because it considerably reduces the consumption of organic solvents. These factors led to a revised strategy for purification and to a general interest in evaluating possible extensions for the application of packed SFC (pSFC). The results of this extensive evaluation have led to the establishment of SFC platforms for preparative achiral purifications as a standard practice, alongside its use for preparative chiral separations.