The use of parallel segmented outlet flow columns for enhanced mass spectral sensitivity at high chromatographic flow rates Academic Article uri icon


  • RATIONALE: Speed of analysis is a significant limitation to current high-performance liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry (HPLC/MS) and ultra-high-pressure liquid chromatography (UHPLC)/MS systems. The flow rate limitations of MS detection require a compromise in the chromatographic flow rate, which in turn reduces throughput, and when using modern columns, a reduction in separation efficiency. Commonly, this restriction is combated through the post-column splitting of flow prior to entry into the mass spectrometer. However, this results in a loss of sensitivity and a loss in efficiency due to the post-extra column dead volume. METHODS: A new chromatographic column format known as 'parallel segmented flow' involves the splitting of eluent flow within the column outlet end fitting, and in this study we present its application on a HPLC electrospray ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometer. RESULTS: Using parallel segmented flow, column flow rates as high as 2.5 mL/min were employed in the analysis of amino acids without post-column splitting to the mass spectrometer. Furthermore, when parallel segmented flow chromatography columns were employed, the sensitivity was more than twice that of conventional systems with post-column splitting when the same volume of mobile phase was passed through the detector. CONCLUSIONS: These finding suggest that this type of column technology will particularly enhance the capabilities of modern LC/MS enabling both high-throughput and sensitive mass spectral detection.


  • Camenzuli, M
  • Goodie, TA
  • Bassanese, DN
  • Francis, PS
  • Barnett, NW
  • Ritchie, H
  • Ladine, J
  • Shalliker, RA
  • Conlan, XA

publication date

  • 2012