Overview of the development of PLOT columns

I was invited by Ron Majors to submit a historical overview of 2011-jaap-pasfoto4the development of the PLOT column. As there have been many scientific publications around this topic, I tried to write the development of capillary columns from personnel experiences in the laboratory, starting with glass capillary columns, introduction of the fused silica column and implementation of adsorption materials in fused silica columns.

Adsorbents usually are the enemies of polymer chemists as these scientists usually fight adsorption. In Gas-Solid chromatography we let the adsorption work for us. Development of peak tailing in adsorption chromatography is usually limited as activity is used as separation parameter. That’s why adsorption columns usually have long life time.

On the downside, because of the high retention, adsorbents are strong trapping media. When oven is cold, even the most volatile impurities in the carrier gas, are trapped on the adsorbent and may elute as a “ghost” peak or raised base line. Also higher boiling materials will retain on these columns, which can lead to pollution and sometimes pre-columns/back flush is essential.

The overview on PLOT column development has appeared in the October issue of LC/GC, under the “column watch” edited by Ron Majors.  LC/GC is not only available as a printed copy, but is now also digitally available at:




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