Prior to the 1970's, few reliable chromatographic methods were commercially available to the laboratory scientist. During 1970's, most chemical separations were carried out using a variety of techniques including open-column chromatography, paper chromatography, and thin-layer chromatography. However, these chromatographic techniques were inadequate for quantification of compounds and resolution between similar compounds. During this time, pressure liquid chromatography began to be used to decrease flow through time, thus reducing purification times of compounds being isolated by column chromatography. However, flow rates were inconsistent, and the question of whether it was better to have constant flow rate or constant pressure was debated. (Analytical Chem. vol 62, no. 19, oct 1 1990).
High pressure liquid chromatography was developed in the mid-1970's and quickly
improved with the development of column packing materials and the additional convenience of on-line detectors. In the late 1970's, new methods including reverse phase liquid chromatography allowed for improved separation between very similar compounds.
By the 1980's HPLC was commonly used for the separation of chemical compounds. New techniques improved separation, identification, purification and quantification far above the previous techniques. Computers and automation added to the convenience of HPLC. Improvements in type of columns and thus reproducibility were made as such terms as micro-column, affinity columns, and Fast HPLC began to immerge.
The past decade has seen a vast undertaking in the development of the micro-columns, and other specialized columns. The dimensions of the typical HPLC column are: XXX mm in length with an internal diameter between 3-5 mm. The usual diameter of micro-columns, or capillary columns, ranges from 3 µm to 200 µm. Fast HPLC utilizes a column that is shorter than the typical column, with a length of about 3 mm long, and they are packed with smaller particles.
Currently, one has the option of considering over x# types of columns for the separation of compounds, as well as a variety of detectors to interface with the HPLC in order to get optimal analysis of the compound. We hope this review will provide a reference which all levels of HPLC users will be able to find quick answers to their HPLC problems.
Although HPLC is widely considered to be a technique mainly for biotechnological, biomedical, and biochemical research as well as for the pharmaceutical industry, these fields currently comprise only about 50% of HPLC users.(Analytical Chem. vol 62, no. 19, oct 1 1990). Currently HPLC is used by a variety of fields including cosmetics, energy, food, and environmental industries.