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Thin Layer Chromatography

Thin Layer Chromatography is normally a laboratory analytical technique that can separate a sample solution into constituent components, the characteristics of which can then be used to identify substances in the sample solution. The separation occurs on a thin layer of adsorbent, which is called the stationary phase and is fixed onto a backing plate, both of which together is called a TLC plate – a liquid solvent, which moves up the TLC plate stationary phase by capillary action is called the mobile phase. The constituent compounds in a sample solution are carried up the stationary phase by the mobile phase and are deposited, or bound, to the stationary phase depending on their characteristic interaction with the stationary and mobile phase. If a constituent has greater affinity for the mobile phase than the stationary phase as the constituent moves up the plate then the constituent will stay in the mobile phase and keep moving; if a constituent has a greater affinity for the stationary phase at a particular location than it does for the mobile phase, the constituent will bind to the stationary phase at that spot as the mobile phase continues to move up the plate. The resulting constituent compound locations can be compared with reference standards in order to make a presumptive identification or can be compared to a table of what are called Rf values. An Rf value is equal to the distance traveled by the constituent compound divided by the distance traveled by the mobile phase, the value of which is always between zero and one. FFI’s Spot.On.ID™ is a portable system that can easily be used in the field; we at FFI are proud that we won an R&D 100 award for 2014 with the Spot.On.ID™.

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