Mechanistic Study on Analyte Focusing by Dynamic pH Junction in Capillary Electrophoresis Using Computer Simulation
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Dynamic pH junction is an on-line preconcentration method in capillary electrophoresis (CE) based on electrokinetic focusing of weakly ionic analytes with in large sample volumes in a multisection electrolyte system. In this report, experiments and computer simulations were performed to gain a better insight of the analyte focusing mechanism when a dynamic pH junction was used. A computer program, SIMUL, was used to simulate the band-narrowing process of a group for phenol derivatives under optimized buffer conditions, which were compared with experimental results. Computer simulations revealed the formation of a sharp moving pH boundary within the sample zone causing efficient focusing of long plugs of weakly acidic analytes based on their pKa. These studies offered useful information for understanding the band-narrowing process by control of the depth and lifetime of the moving pH boundary as a function of analyte pKa, sample pH, and injection length. The change in pH of the sample within the capillary was also estimated by measuring the absorbances of an analyte at two different wave-lengths. Optimization of analyte focusing resulted in enhanced detection responses of about 60-450-fold in terms of peak heights for some phenol derivatives' relation to conventional injections. Dynamic pH junction represents a novel approach to control band dispersion (peak width) and selectivity (mobility) of specific analytes for high-resolution CE separations.
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