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    Thin layer chromatographyThin layer chromatography



    Basic principles of TLC

    Introduction, principle steps of a TLC separation

    258 262

    Products for thin layer chromatography

    Ready-to-use layers for TLC

    Summary of MN ready-to-use layers for TLC

    263 265

    TLC ready-to-use layers with standard silica

    266 269

    TLC ready-to-use layers with concentrating zone

    269HPTLC ready-to-use layers with nano silica

    269 271

    Nano plates with extremely thin silica layer

    271TLC and HPTLC plates with modified silica layers

    272 277

    HPTLC ready-to-use layers with C18 silica (RP plates)



    RP-2 plates with silanised silica


    Nano-SIL CN the cyano-modified HPTLC plate


    Nano-SIL NH


    the amino-modified HPTLC plate


    Nano-SIL DIOL the diol-modified HPTLC plate


    HPTLC method development kits

    277TLC ready-to-use layers with aluminium oxide


    TLC ready-to-use layers with cellulose

    279 281

    TLC ready-to-use layers with polyamide


    Special TLC/HPTLC ready-to-use layers

    282 288

    CHIRALPLATE TLC plates for enantiomer separation

    282 285

    TLC plates SIL G-25 HR for the separation of aflatoxins


    TLC plates SIL G-25 TENSIDE


    TLC ready-to-use layers with kieselguhr


    HPTLC plate Nano-SIL-PAH


    TLC ready-to-use layers IONEX with ion exchange resins


    TLC glass plates with mixed layers

    288Chromatography papers


    TLC micro-sets

    TLC introductory kits of science education

    290 293

    TLC accessories


    Adsorbents for TLC



    Silicas for TLC

    294 295,

    aluminium oxides for TLC


    polyamide for TLC

    296 297,

    cellulose powders for TLC

    298 299,

    fluorescent Indicators


    Visualisation reagents for TLC

    300 304

    spray reagents, ordering information


    Australia & New Zealand: Winlab Pty Ltd email: or call +61 (0)7 3205 1209

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    Basic principles of TLCBasic principles of TLC

    Introduction to thin layer chromatography


    Thin layer chromatography (TLC) and high performance thinlayer chromatography (HPTLC) now also called planarchromatography are, like all chromatographic techniques,based on a multistage distribution process. This process in-volves: a suitable adsorbent (the stationary phase), solventsor solvent mixtures (the mobile phase or eluent), and thesample molecules. For thin layer chromatography the ad-sorbent is coated as a thin layer onto a suitable support ( plate, polyester or aluminium sheet). On this layer thesubstance mixture is separated by elution with a suitable sol-vent. The principle of TLC is known for more than 100 yearsnow


    . The real break-through of TLC as an analyticalmethod, however, came about 35 years ago as a conse-quence of the pioneering work of Egon Stahl


    . After some time of stagnation thin layer chromatography hasgained increasing importance as an analytical separationtechnique, which is probably due the effects of instrumentali-sation and automatisation


    . At the same time the applica-bility of thin layer chromatography was enhanced by thedevelopment of new adsorbents and supports. Today MACHEREY-NAGEL offers a versatile range of ready-to-use layers, which are the result of 30 years of continuousresearch and development.


    1) M. W. Beyerinck, Z. Phys. Chem.


    (1889) 1102) E. Stahl, Thin layer chromatography, 2nd edition,

    Springer-Verlag Berlin, Reprint 19883) H. Jork, Laborpraxis


    (1992) 110

    What can TLC/HPTLC offer today?

    The success of thin layer chromatography as a highly effi-cient microanalytical separation method is based on a largenumber of advantageous properties:

    high sample throughput in a short timesuitable for screening testspilot procedure for HPLCafter separation the analytical information can be storedfor a longer period of time (the TLC ready-to-use layeracts as storage medium for data)separated substances can be subjected to subsequentanalytical procedures (e.g. IR, MS) at a later daterapid and cost-efficient optimisation of the separationdue to easy change of mobile and stationary phase

    For a better understanding of a thin layer chromatographicseparation we describe here the basic steps:

    sample preparationsample applicationdevelopment of a chromatogram, separation techniquesevaluation in TLC visualisation of separated sub-stances, qualitative and quantitative determinations

    Principle steps of a thin layer chromatographic separation

    Sample preparation

    For a chromatographic separation the sample must meetseveral requirements to obtain good results. It is not possibledo go into detail here. Since the TLC plate is a disposableproduct, sample preparation in general is not as demandingas for the other chromatographic methods. However, eventu-ally several steps for sample pretreatment may be neces-sary. These include sampling, mechanical crushing of a sam-ple, extraction steps, filtration and sometimes enrichment ofinteresting components or clean-up, i.e. removal of unde-sired impurities. Our TLC micro-sets introduce some simple methods of sam-ple pretreatment. The examples of the beginner's set do notrequire complicated procedures. The dyes or dye mixtureschosen for this set can be applied without further prepara-tion. The advanced sets require the user to carry out someadditional steps for preparing a sample. These individualachievements in sample pretreatment introduce the user totechniques often performed in industrial laboratories. Thorough preparation of samples is an important prerequi-site for the success of a thin layer chromatographic separa-tion. For our range of products for more demanding samplepretreatment please see the chapter Sample preparationfrom page 179.

    Sample application

    The aim of a chromatographic separation determines howthe sample should be applied to the TLC plate or sheet. Themost frequent technique still is application with a glass capil-lary as spot or short streak. Application as streak will yieldbetter results especially for instrumental quantification. Forboth types of application some manual skill is required toobtain reproducible results. Substance zones which are toolarge from the beginning will cause poor separations sinceduring chromatography they will become even larger andmore diffuse. Our TLC micro-sets for example use this very simple way ofapplication. The mixture to be separated and the referencesolution are applied to the micro precoated sheets as spotsby means of glass capillaries. Only use each capillary onceto avoid contamination of the following samples. The capillar-ies fill themselves quickly when dipped into organic samplesolutions, with aqueous solutions filling will be much slower;in some cases it may be necesarry to use a rubber cap.Before emptying the capillary roll the submerged end hori-zontally on filter paper. If the capillary is filled to the upperend, however, you may apply the clean upper end to theadsorbent layer. Place the capillary on the layer verticallyand carefully, vertically so that the capillary empties itself and

    Australia & New Zealand: Winlab Pty Ltd email: or call +61 (0)7 3205 1209

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    Basic principles of TLCBasic principles of TLC

    Principle steps of a thin layer chromatographic separation


    carefully to avoid damage to the layer. Damaged layers resultin unevenly formed spots. To keep spots as small and com-pact as possible, it is advisable to apply a solution in severalportions with intermediate drying (blow with cold or hot air).This is especially important for aqueous sample solutions.To facilitate application we recommend a spotting guidedesigned for our micro precoated sheets. For other platesizes suitable spotting guides are commercially available.The following figures demonstrate the clean and easy appli-cation of samples with the above-mentioned spotting guide.

    A valuable aid for manual application especially of large vol-umes of very dilute samples is the concentrating zone (e.g.SILGUR-25 UV


    ), which consists of a chromatographicallyinactive adsorbent (kieselguhr). The substances to be sepa-rated are concentrated to a small band at the interfacebetween concentrating zone and the chromatographicallyactive adsorbent (silica).

    Another method for sample concentration is a short pre-elu-tion (few mm) with a solvent, in which all substances have ahigh



    value.If a quantitative evaluation with a TLC scanner is to follow theseparation we recommend that you use commercially availa-ble sample applicators for spotting. These range from simplespotting guides via nanoapplicators to completely automatedspotting devices. Application as streak can be performedautomatically by spraying of the sample without touching thelayer of the TLC plate. Application as band over the wholewidth of the TLC plate is especially important for preparativeTLC.After application allow the solvent of the samples to evapo-rate completely (about 10 minutes) or blow with cold or hotair. Development of a chromatogram should never startbefore the solvent of the applied samples is evaporated com-pletely.

    1 2 3


    TLC Spotting Guide


    Depending on whether 3 or 4 substances are to beapplied, plac