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A polybutadiene maleic acid polymer used as a cation solid phase packing material.

Organic polymer based packing material is not limited by pH like the silica gel materials are, but are not suitable for separation of alkali metals and alkali earth metals. The most common functional group is the sulfonic acid group ( [link] ), attached with a spacer between the polymer and the sulfonic acid group.

A sulfonic acid group used as a cation solid phase packing material functional group.

Detection methods

Spectroscopic detection methods

Photometric detection in the UV region of the spectrum is a common method of detection in ion chromatography. Photometric methods limit the eluent possibilities, as the analyte must have a unique absorbance wavelength to be detectable. Cations that do not have a unique absorbance wavelength, i.e. the eluent and other contaminants have similar UV visible spectra can be complexed to for UV visible compounds. This allows detection of the cation without interference from eluents.

Coupling the chromatography with various types of spectroscopy such as Mass spectroscopy or IR spectroscopy can be a useful method of detection. Inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectroscopy is a commonly used method.

Direct conductivity methods

Direct conductivity methods take advantage of the change in conductivity that an analyte produces in the eluent, which can be modeled by [link] , where equivalent conductivity is defined as [link] .

With L being the distance between two electrodes of area A and R being the resistance the ion creates. C is the concentration of the ion. The conductivity can be plotted over time, and the peaks that appear represent different ions coming through the column as described by [link] .

The values of Equivalent conductivity of the analyte and of the eluent common ions can be found in [link] .

Equivalent conductivities of ions. C. Eith, M. Kolb, A. Seubert. K.H. Viehweger. Practical Ion Chromatography: An Introduction , Metrohm Ltd., CH-9101 Herisau, Switzerland. 2001.


The choice of eluent depends on many factors, namely, pH, buffer capacity, the concentration of the eluent, and the nature of the eluent’s reaction with the column and the packing material.

Eluents in anion chromatography

In non-suppressed anion chromatography, where the eluent and analyte are not altered between the column and the detector, there is a wide range of eluents to be used. In the non-suppressed case, the only issue that could arise is if the eluent impaired the detection ability (absorbing in a similar place in a UV-spectra as the analyte for instance). As such, there are a number of commonly used eluents. Aromatic carboxylic acids are used in conductivity detection because of their low self-conductivity. Aliphatic carboxylic acids are used for UV/visible detection because they are UV transparent. Inorganic acids can only be used in photometric detection.

In suppressed anion chromatography, where the eluent and analyte are treated between the column and detection, fewer eluents can be used. The suppressor modifies the eluent and the analyte, reducing the self-conductivity of the eluent and possibly increasing the self-conductivity of the analyte. Only alkali hydroxides and carbonates, borates, hydrogen carbonates, and amino acids can be used as eluents.

Eluents in cation chromatography

The primary eluents used in cation chromatography of alkali metals and ammoniums are mineral acids such as HNO 3 . When the cation is multivalent, organic bases such as ethylenediamine ( [link] ) serve as the main eluents. If both alkali metals and alkali earth metals are present, hydrochloric acid or 2,3-diaminopropionic acid ( [link] ) is used in combination with a pH variation. If the chromatography is unsuppressed, the direct conductivity measurement of the analyte will show up as a negative peak due to the high conductivity of the H + in the eluent, but simple inversion of the data can be used to rectify this discrepancy.

Ethylenediamine, a commonly used eluent in cation chromatography.
2,3-diaminopropionic acid, a primary eluent for cation chromatography of alkali and alkali earth metal combinations.

If transition metals or H + are the analytes in question, complexing carboxylic acids are used to suppress the charge of the analyte and to create photometrically detectable complexes, forgoing the need for direct conductivity as the detection method.


  • A Practical Guide to Ion Chromatography, http://www.nestgrp.com/pdf /Zp1/Sp1/ION_Manual.pdf, (March 31, 2014)
  • I. Demkowska, Z. Polkowska, and J. Namiesnik, J. Chromatogr. B , 2008, 875 , 419.
  • C. Eith, M. Kolb, A. Seubert. K.H. Viehweger. Practical Ion Chromatography: An Introduction . Metrohm Ltd., CH-9101 Herisau, Switzerland. 2001.
  • T. P. Moyer, J. Chromatogr. A , 1978, 153 , 365.

Questions & Answers

where we get a research paper on Nano chemistry....?
Maira Reply
nanopartical of organic/inorganic / physical chemistry , pdf / thesis / review
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 did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
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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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