Ion Exchange Chromatography- Definition, Principle, Parts, Steps, Uses


Chromatography is a family of related techniques for the separation of different molecules or components within a mixture using phase equilibrium partitioning. This means that the mixture is dissolved in a fluid solvent (gas or liquid) called the mobile phase, which carries it through a system (a column, a capillary tube, a plate, or a sheet) on which a material called the stationary phase is fixed. The molecules in the mixture interact differently with the mobile and stationary phases, resulting in their separation as they move along the system.

The purpose of chromatography can be either analytical or preparative. Analytical chromatography aims to identify and quantify the components of a complex mixture, while preparative chromatography seeks to isolate or purify target molecules for downstream uses. Chromatography can be used for various applications, such as protein purification, chemical analysis, water treatment, drug discovery, and forensic science.

There are many types of chromatography methods and techniques, depending on the characteristics of the molecules to be separated and the conditions of the mobile and stationary phases. Some of the most common types are liquid chromatography (LC), gas chromatography (GC), thin-layer chromatography (TLC), and ion exchange chromatography (IEC). In this article, we will focus on ion exchange chromatography, which is a process that allows the separation of ions and polar molecules based on their affinity to ion exchangers. We will discuss its definition, principle, parts, steps, uses, advantages, and limitations.