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A Chromatographic Journey Through Time: Notable Events in Chromatography History


Chromatography, a powerful analytical technique used to separate and identify compounds, has a rich history filled with fascinating discoveries and innovations. Today, we embark on a journey through time to explore significant events in chromatography that occurred on this day in the past.


In 1900, Russian botanist Mikhail Tsvet made a ground-breaking discovery that would lay the foundation for modern chromatography. Tsvet separated plant pigments using a glass column packed with calcium carbonate. He observed different pigments moving at various rates, leading to the term "chromatography," which means "colour writing" in Greek. Tsvet's work marked the birth of chromatography as a scientific technique.


In 1952, Archer John Porter Martin and Richard L.M. Synge were awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for their development of partition chromatography. Their work involved separating amino acids and other compounds, pioneering the concept of liquid chromatography. This honour highlighted the significant impact of chromatography on scientific research and analysis.


High-Performance Liquid Chromatography, commonly known as HPLC, revolutionized the field of chromatography. On this day in 1979, HPLC was introduced commercially by Waters Corporation. HPLC greatly improved separation efficiency and allowed for the analysis of a wide range of compounds, from pharmaceuticals to environmental samples.





After a rapid rise in popularity in the 1970’s the popular software developer Nelson Analytical was purchased by PerkinElmer, a renowned global corporation specializing in analytical and diagnostic solutions. The acquisition allowed the chief software developer at Nelson Analytical, Jeff Justice, to forge a path forward and start Justice Innovations Inc in 1982, and release the first revision of the Chromperfect shortly after. Originally released to run under MS DOS, 40 years later, Chromperfect has seen a major revision every year and continues to be the leading Chromatography software choice for chemists around the world.


Supercritical Fluid Chromatography (SFC) made its mark in 1991 when scientists successfully applied supercritical carbon dioxide as a mobile phase for chromatographic separations. SFC is known for its eco-friendly approach and versatility in analyzing a variety of compounds, including chiral compounds.


In 2010, two-dimensional liquid chromatography (2D-LC) gained prominence as a powerful analytical tool for complex sample analysis. 2D-LC allows for improved separation of compounds, making it an essential technique in fields such as pharmaceuticals and proteomics.


Chromatography has come a long way since its inception in 1900 by Mikhail Tsvet. The remarkable discoveries and advancements in this field have transformed the way we analyse and understand complex mixtures of compounds. As we celebrate these historical milestones in chromatography, we anticipate even more exciting developments and innovations in the future, continuing to push the boundaries of what is possible in analytical chemistry.


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