The separation efficiencies of three different asymmetrical flow field-flow fractionation (AF4) channel designs were evaluated using polystyrene latex standards. Channel breadth was held constant for one channel (rectangular profile), and was reduced either linearly (trapezoidal profile) or exponentially (exponential profile) along the length for the other two. The effective void volumes of the three channel types were designed to be equivalent. Theoretically, under certain flow conditions, the mean channel flow velocity of the exponential channel could be arranged to remain constant along the channel length, thereby improving separation in AF4. Particle separation obtained with the exponential channel was compared with particle separation obtained with the trapezoidal and rectangular channels. We demonstrated that at a certain flow rate condition (outflow/inflow rate=0.2), the exponential channel design indeed provided better performance with respect to the separation of polystyrene nanoparticles in terms of reducing band broadening. While the trapezoidal channel exhibited a little poorer performance than the exponential, the strongly decreasing mean flow velocity in the rectangular channel resulted in serious band broadening, a delay in retention time, and even failure of larger particles to elute.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Analytical Chemistry
- Organic Chemistry