Maintenance Tip: HPLC / UHPLC Systems
With HPLC and UHPLC systems, it’s often the small things that can make or break your unit. Cleaning or changing pump seals or buffer or column filters or frits on a regular basis is important. Depending on your specific application, such work can be done daily, weekly, or monthly. That can include cleaning the whole system at the end of the day, to prevent bacterial growth, or weekly cleaning of the lines to prevent clogs.
How will the number of detectors required affect the type of HPLC/UHPLC system being used?
A variety of different detectors exist for HPLC / UHPLC systems. For laboratories doing non-routine analysis or that require a variety of different tests, the ability to switch out detectors or integrate more than one in the system can streamline the analysis process. Most commonly, UV-VIS and MS systems are used, along with photo diode array detectors and fluorescence detectors. Bulk property detectors such as refractive index, electrochemical, and light scattering detectors may also be used. The ability to change out detectors, or use more than one—as is the case in most LC-MS units (UV-VIS and MS)—can help give quicker and more robust information.
How will data analysis of the analyte(s) of interest influence which type of HPLC / UHPLC system is required?
Depending on the sample type, the detector used, and the requirements of the researcher, there may be changes in the way the data is interpreted. As such, many vendors have begun developing analytical software for HPLC / UHPLC systems to give configuration options to researchers. Third-party software for different forms of analytics exists also, and many vendors have systems which can accommodate these packages. Knowing your analytical requirements beforehand can help ensure the system purchased complies with your software needs.
How will required turnaround times and sample throughput needs affect which type of HPLC / UHPLC system is best?
For labs that have high sample volume and need faster turnaround times, there are a variety of options available. Many vendors develop or accommodate third-party automation solutions for a variety of different HPLC configurations. By automating the HPLC / UHPLC process, technicians and researchers can have more time to work on other experiments and processes.