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Enhancement of the conductivity detection signal in capillary electrophoresis systems using neutral cyclodextrins as sweeping agents

Publication at Faculty of Science |


Conductivity detection is a universal detection technique often encountered in electrophoretic separation systems, especially in modern chip-electrophoresis based devices. On the other hand, it is sparsely combined with another contemporary trend of enhancing limits of detection by means of various preconcentration strategies.

This can be attributed to the fact that a preconcentration experimental setup usually brings about disturbances in a conductivity baseline. Sweeping with a neutral sweeping agent seems a good candidate for overcoming this problem.

A neutral sweeping agent does not hinder the conductivity detection while a charged analyte may preconcentrate on its boundary due to a decrease in its effective mobility. This study investigates such sweeping systems theoretically, by means of computer simulations, and experimentally.

A formula is provided for the reliable estimation of the preconcentration factor. Additionally, it is demonstrated that the conductivity signal can significantly benefit from slowing down the analyte and thus the overall signal enhancement can easily overweight amplification caused solely by the sweeping process.

The overall enhancement factor can be deduced a priori from the linearized theory of electrophoresis implemented in the PeakMaster freeware. Sweeping by neutral cyclodextrin is demonstrated on an amplification of a conductivity signal of flurbiprofen in a real drug sample.

Finally, a possible formation of unexpected system peaks in systems with a neutral sweeping agent is revealed by the computer simulation and confirmed experimentally.