Automated Sample Application

Sample application in quantitative TLC analysis can take up as much as one third of the time needed for the entire analysis. When carried out manually, this is pure labour time. Therefore, attempts to automate or otherwise rationalize this step have been made since the early days of TLC.

Devices using a series of capillaries or syringes were employed with partial success in conventional TLC.

However, none of the multicapillary or multisyringe devices were truly suitable for the smaller dimensions of HPTLC. Applying samples sequentially proved to be a more appropriate approach to solving the problem of automated sample application without sacrificing precision.

The Camag Automatic TLC Sampler III is a flexible computer-controlled device that can apply samples automatically from a rack of sample vials. The samples are transferred from the vials onto the plate with a steel capillary either as spots by contact or as bands using a multipassage spray-on technique. The sample-dispensing speed, sample volumes and application pattern are freely selectable. Each application step is followed by a programmable rinsing cycle to avoid cross-contamination of samples. Because the software of the instrument is compatible with the software for densitometric chromatogram evaluation, all calibration data need to be entered only once. Another advantage of this automated system is its Good Laboratory Practice/Good Manufacturing Practice (GLP/GMP) compliance.

The Desaga TLC Applicator AS 30 also applies samples to a planar chromatography surface in the form of spots or bands. The differences between the two applicators are that spots are applied by spraying and that a one-passage spray-on process produces bands. The AS 30 Applicator can be coupled with a typical HPLC autosampler. The functionality of such a combination is comparable to that of the ATS III.

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