Chromatography may be defined as method of separating a mixture of components into individual component through equilibrium distribution between two phases. Essentially, the technique of chromatography is based on the differences in the rate at which components of mixture moves through a porous medium (called stationary phase) under the influence of some solvent or gas (called moving phase).

Chromatography involves a sample (or sample extract) being dissolved in a mobile phase (which may be a gas or a liquid). The mobile phase is then forced through an immobile, immiscible stationary phase. The phases are chosen such that components of the sample have differing solubilities in each phase. A component which is quite soluble in the stationary phase will take longer to travel through it than a component which is not very soluble in the stationary phase but very soluble in the mobile phase. As a result of these differences in mobilities, sample components will become separated from each other as they travel through the stationary phase.

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