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Berkeley Lab researchers apply NMR/MRI to microfluidic chromatography
Date:8/14/2011

By pairing an award-winning remote-detection version of NMR/MRI technology with a unique version of chromatography specifically designed for microfluidic chips, researchers with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)'s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have opened the door to a portable system for highly sensitive multi-dimensional chemical analysis that would be impractical if not impossible with conventional technologies.

Alexander Pines, a faculty senior scientist in Berkeley Lab's Materials Sciences Division and the Glenn T. Seaborg Professor of Chemistry at the University of California (UC) Berkeley, is one of the word's foremost authorities on NMR (nuclear magnetic resonance) and its daughter technology, MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging). In this latest development, he led a collaboration in which a remote detection NMR/MRI technique that can rapidly identify the chemical constituents of samples in microfluidic "lab-on-a-chip" devices was used to perform analyses in a microscale monolithic chromatograph column.

"We have presented the first demonstration that a monolithic chromatograph column can be used to separate small molecules on a timescale that is compatible with NMR/MRI detection, an important first step to portable chromatographic devices," says Vikram Bajaj, a project scientist in the Pines' group who is the corresponding author of a paper describing this work in the journal Analytical Chemistry.

The Analytical Chemistry paper is titled "Remotely Detected NMR for the Characterization of Flow and Fast Chromatographic Separations Using Organic Polymer Monoliths." Co-authoring the paper with Pines and Bajaj were Thomas Teisseyre, Jiri Urban, Nicholas Halpern-Manners, Stuart Chambers and Frantisek Svec.

Chromatography is one of the indispensable tools of chemistry. By dissolving sample into a fluid called the "mobile phase" and flushing it through a solid medium called the "stat
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Contact: Lynn Yarris
lcyarris@lbl.gov
510-486-5375
DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Source:Eurekalert  

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