Back in 2005 two Russian scientists Berezkin and Lapin [1] investigated the application of ultra-short capillary gas chromatography (GC) columns. Ordinary, the GC columns are extremely lengthy and range from 10 to 150 meters in order to achieve effective separation of mixed components. Berezkin’s earlier research [2] showed that 75% of all GC columns used in scientific publications fell between 10 and 30 m length, and anything shorter was relatively uncommon.  However, the authors argue for shorter column length as it may allow to lower the  column temperature during chromatographic separation which could expand the practical application of Gas Chromatography. But on a negative side, shorter columns will result in lower resolution.

Berezkin and Lapin conducted their experiments using HP 5890 gas chromatograph equipped with an electronic pressure control and a flame ionized detector (FID). The scientists used various length columns ranging from 0.1 to 5 meters to separate n-C9-n-C20 alkanes and showed that ultra-short columns were “good enough” for express-analysis of thermolabile and high-boiling compounds. The authors were optimistic of practical application of ultra-short capillary columns as an extension to conventional GC analysis.

    [1] V. G. Berezkin, A. B. Lapin, Journal of Chromatography A 1075, 197 – 203 (2005).
    [2] V. G. Berezkin, I. V. Malyukova, Zh. Anal. Khim. 52, 798 (1997) (in Russian).