After the application of samples and/or standards, the separation process can take place in order to separate the components of the applied substance mixtures.
To achieve this goal, the separation chambers have to fulfill certain requirements:
- They have to contain the mobile phase and bring it to the sorbent layer.
- They need a tight closing lid so that the gas space can be saturated with solvent vapors if necessary (working with chamber saturation).
- It must be possible to observe the solvent front which means that the material needs to be transparent.
- The material must be chemically resistant and be easily cleaned.
Obviously, glass is the best material that meets all requirements and most chambers are made from it. They have a flat bottom where to fill the mobile phase, a glass lid and walls can be covered with filter paper to provide chamber saturation. These standard separating chambers can hold plates up to a size of 200 x 200 mm.
A development step towards achieving higher throughputs was the invention of the simultan separating chambers. These are designed with vertical grooves that enable up to five plates to be developed at once. Nevertheless they have the same size as the standard chambers.
One option to reduce the gas space volume and the consumption of solvents is to use round separating chambers. They have a small base and are suitable for plates up to 100 mm width. Moreover, the lower weight compared to the standard separation chambers is an advantage.
With the development of high resolution HPTLC plates, the dimensions decreased. Mostly, plate formats of 50 x 50 mm or 100 x 100 mm are used. Separating chambers got smaller too and therefore, we offer nano separating chambers for the plate size of 100 x 100 mm.
The newest and most elegant option for HPTLC separations is to use horizontal separating chambers (H-chambers) made of PTFE. They are very solvent-saving since only 1.5 mL of mobile phase is sufficient for one plate of 50 x 50 mm. The solvent is applied into a small trough and a glass frit rod conducts it to the plate laying with the sorbent side down. The gas space is very small, which facilitates saturation with the mobile phase or another chemical. The glass lid enables the monitoring of the run. This system is space-saving and very easy to handle which makes it valuable not only for analysis but also for training purposes. In combination with HPTLC plates and two different dye mixtures, we offer you a Quicktest set especially for beginners, in order to train faster and better the handeling of TLC/HPTLC.