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Theoretical and experimental investigation of bandbroadening effects in innovative chromatographic systems

Monday, 28 June, 2010 - 17:00
Campus: Brussels Humanities, Sciences & Engineering campus
Frederik Detobel
phd defence

With the advent of demanding novel research fields in the pharmacological and biotechnological
industry involving very complex samples, there is an ongoing quest for separation techniques that
are able to reveal a detailed and complete picture of the sample constituents. In combination with
highly sensitive detectors, chromatography is the ultimate separation technique to fulfill these
stringent requirements. Although strong performance improvements have already been made for
the traditional packed-bed columns, the number of possible optimization strategies is greatly
enlarged with the recent introduction of innovative chromatographic systems like monolithic
columns, ordered microstructured columns and shear-driven flow techniques. Knowledge of the
mechanisms determining column performance and insight in their relative contributions is however
indispensible to direct the optimization of these novel systems. In this PhD, several band
broadening effects that limit the performance of chromatographic systems have therefore been
studied in detail.

The work comprised a theoretical analysis of adsorption/desorption effects in shear-driven
chromatographic systems and a numerical study of mass-transfer resistance effects in complex
monolithic structures. In addition, a novel support structure was developed that combines the
versatility and mass loadability of silica monolithic columns with the high degree of order of
microstructured columns. The promising chromatographic properties of this hybrid column structure
could be demonstrated experimentally.