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Modifiers are added to the mobile phase to play with its properties. As mentioned a few times previously, CO 2 supercritical fluid lacks polarity. In order to add polarity to the fluid (without causing reactivity), a polar modifier will often be added. Modifiers usually raise the critical pressure and temperature of the mobile phase a little, but in return add polarity to the phase and result in a fully resolved sample. Unfortunately, with too much modifier, higher temperatures and pressures are needed and reactivity increases (which is dangerous and bad for the operator). Modifiers, such as ethanol or methanol, are used in small amounts as needed for the mobile phase in order to create a more polar fluid.

Advantages of supercritical fluid chromatography

Clearly, SFC possesses some extraordinary potential as far as chromatography techniques go. It has some incredible capabilities that allow efficient and accurate resolution of mixtures. Below is a summary of its advantages and disadvantages stacked against other conventional (competing) chromatography methods.

Advantages over hplc

  • Because supercritical fluids have low viscosities the analysis is faster, there is a much lower pressure drop across the column, and open tubular columns can be used.
  • Shorter column lengths are needed (10-20 m for SFC versus 15-60 m for HPLC) due to the high diffusivity of the supercritical fluid. More interactions can occur in a shorter span of time/distance.
  • Resolving power is much greater (5x) than HPLC due to the high diffusivity of the supercritical fluid. More interactions result in better separation of the components in a shorter amount of time.

Advantages over gc

  • Able to analyze many solutes with no derivatization since there is no need to convert most polar groups into nonpolar ones.
  • Can analyze thermally labile compounds more easily with high resolution since it can provide faster analysis at lower temperatures.
  • Can analyze solutes with high molecular weight due to their greater solubizing power.

General disadvantages

  • Cannot analyze extremely polar solutes due to relatively nonpolar mobile phase, CO 2 .


While the use of SFC has been mainly organic-oriented, there are still a few ways that inorganic compound mixtures are separated using the method. The two main ones, separation of chiral compounds (mainly metal-ligand complexes) and organometallics are discussed here.

Chiral compounds

For chiral molecules, the procedures and choice of column in SFC are very similar to those used in HPLC. Packed with cellulose type chiral stationary phase (or some other chiral stationary phase), the sample flows through the chiral compound and only molecules with a matching chirality will stick to the column. By running a pure CO 2 supercritical fluid mobile phase, the non-sticking enantiomer will elute first, followed eventually (but slowly) with the other one.

In the field of inorganic chemistry, a racemic mixture of Co(acac) 3 , both isomers shown in [link] , has been resolved using a cellulose-based chiral stationary phase. The SFC method was one of the best and most efficient instruments in analyzing the chiral compound. While SFC easily separates coordinate covalent compounds, it is not necessary to use such an extensive instrument to separate mixtures of it since there are many simpler techniques.

The two isomers of Co(acac) 3 in a racemic mixture which were resolved by SFC.


Many d-block organometallics are highly reactive and easily decompose in air. SFC offers a way to chromatograph mixtures of large, unusual organometallic compounds. Large cobalt and rhodium based organometallic compound mixtures have been separated using SFC ( [link] ) without exposing the compounds to air.

Examples of cobalt and rhodium based organometallic compound mixtures separated by SFC. Adapted from Compounds by I Bruheim, E Fooladi, E. Lundanes, T. Greibrokk, J. Microcolumn Sep. , 2001, 13 , 156.

By using a stationary phase of siloxanes, oxygen-linked silicon particles with different substituents attached, the organometallics were resolved based on size and charge. Thanks to the non-polar, highly diffusive, and high viscosity properties of a 100% CO 2 supercritical fluid, the mixture was resolved and analyzed with a flame ionization detector. It was determined that the method was sensitive enough to detect impurities of 1%. Because the efficiency of SFC is so impressive, the potential for it in the organometallic field is huge. Identifying impurities down to 1% shows promise for not only preliminary data in experiments, but quality control as well.


While it may have its drawbacks, SFC remains an untapped resource in the ways of chromatography. The advantages to using supercritical fluids as mobile phases demonstrate how resolution can be increased without sacrificing time or increasing column length. Nonetheless, it is still a well-utilized resource in the organic, biomedical, and pharmaceutical industries. SFC shows promise as a reliable way of separating and analyzing mixtures.


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Questions & Answers

where we get a research paper on Nano chemistry....?
Maira Reply
what are the products of Nano chemistry?
Maira Reply
There are lots of products of nano chemistry... Like nano coatings.....carbon fiber.. And lots of others..
Even nanotechnology is pretty much all about chemistry... Its the chemistry on quantum or atomic level
no nanotechnology is also a part of physics and maths it requires angle formulas and some pressure regarding concepts
Preparation and Applications of Nanomaterial for Drug Delivery
Hafiz Reply
Application of nanotechnology in medicine
what is variations in raman spectra for nanomaterials
Jyoti Reply
I only see partial conversation and what's the question here!
Crow Reply
what about nanotechnology for water purification
RAW Reply
please someone correct me if I'm wrong but I think one can use nanoparticles, specially silver nanoparticles for water treatment.
yes that's correct
I think
Nasa has use it in the 60's, copper as water purification in the moon travel.
nanocopper obvius
what is the stm
Brian Reply
is there industrial application of fullrenes. What is the method to prepare fullrene on large scale.?
industrial application...? mmm I think on the medical side as drug carrier, but you should go deeper on your research, I may be wrong
How we are making nano material?
what is a peer
What is meant by 'nano scale'?
What is STMs full form?
scanning tunneling microscope
how nano science is used for hydrophobicity
Do u think that Graphene and Fullrene fiber can be used to make Air Plane body structure the lightest and strongest. Rafiq
what is differents between GO and RGO?
what is simplest way to understand the applications of nano robots used to detect the cancer affected cell of human body.? How this robot is carried to required site of body cell.? what will be the carrier material and how can be detected that correct delivery of drug is done Rafiq
analytical skills graphene is prepared to kill any type viruses .
Any one who tell me about Preparation and application of Nanomaterial for drug Delivery
what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
how to find Rutherford scattering parameters angles
saksham Reply
advantages of NAA
Sai Reply
how I can reaction of mercury?
Sham Reply

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