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Adsorption behaviors of neutral and ionizable compounds on hybrid stationary phases in the absence (BEH-C₁₈) and the presence (CSH-C₁₈) of immobile surface charges

Gritti, Fabrice, Guiochon, Georges
Journal of chromatography 2013 v.1282 pp. 58-71
acetonitrile, adsorbents, adsorption, caffeine, chromatography, electrostatic interactions, ionic strength, models, pH, sorption isotherms
The adsorption behaviors of a neutral (caffeine) and a positively charged compound (nortriptylinium) are investigated on two RPLC/hybrid stationary phases, eluted with a low ionic strength buffer (phosphate buffer, W SpH 2.63, I=10mM). The first phase, bridge ethylene hybrid (BEH), is neutral at all pHs whereas the second, charged surface hybrid (CSH), contains a protonated ligand at W ᵂpH <7. The band profiles of these two compounds eluted by mixture of acetonitrile and water were recorded under overloaded conditions. The adsorption isotherms of the neutral compound on both columns were well accounted for by a heterogeneous Linear-Langmuir (LL) model, which has an adsorption–desorption equilibrium constants about twice larger for caffeine on the CSH than on the BEH, due to charge–dipole interactions. In contrast, at low loadings (0.3 and 1.2μL, C=30g/L), the adsorption isotherm of the charged compound can be accounted for by a homogeneous electrostatically modified Langmuir (EML) or by a heterogeneous bi-EML implicit isotherms onto the CSH and BEH adsorbent, respectively. Electrostatic repulsions definitely account the lesser retention of the ionizable compound on CSH than on BEH. This is explained by the surface potential of CSH-C₁₈ at 20mV and by the subsequent decrease of the equilibrium constant of weak adsorption sites (C₁₈ environment) and removal of the strong adsorption sites (accessible silanols). At the highest sample loadings (5 and 20μL, C=30g/L), the EML and the bi-EML isotherms failed because some adsorbate–adsorbate interactions take place when bulk concentrations exceed 0.2g/L. The experimental data were then successively fitted to an empirical heterogeneous Langmuir–Moreau (LM) explicit isotherm. The best saturation capacities of the empirical heterogeneous LM isotherm is consistent with the manufacturer's estimate of the surface concentration of residual silanols onto the BEH- and CSH-C₁₈ endcapped adsorbent (<0.1μmol/m²).