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  Section: Practical Skills in Chemistry » Instrumental techniques
 
 
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Micellar electrokinetic chromatography (MEKC)

 
     
 
Content
Instrumental techniques
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  Mass spectrometry
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  Chromatography ~ introduction
    The chromatogram
    Resolution
    Detectors
  Gas and liquid chromatography
    Gas chromatography
    Liquid chromatography
    High-performance liquid chromatography
    Interpreting chromatograms
    Optimizing chromatographic separations
    Quantitative analysis
  Electrophoresis
    The supporting medium
    Capillary electrophoresis
    Capillary zone electrophoresis (CZE)
    Micellar electrokinetic chromatography (MEKC)
  Electroanalytical techniques
    Potentiometry and ion-selective electrodes
    Voltammetric methods
    Oxygen electrodes
    Coulometric methods
    Cyclic voltammetry
  Radioactive isotopes and their uses
    Radioactive decay
    Measuring radioactivity
    Chemical applications for radioactive isotopes
    Working practices when using radioactive isotopes
  Thermal analysis
    Thermogravimetry
    Applications

This technique involves the principles of both electrophoresis and chromatography. Its main strength is that it can be used for the separation of neutral molecules as well as charged ones. This is achieved by including surfactants (e.g. SDS, Triton X-lOO) in the electrophoresis buffer at concentrations that promote the formation of spherical micelles, with a hydrophobic interior and a charged, hydrophilic surface. When an electric field is applied, these micelles will tend to migrate with or against the EOF depending on their surface charge. Anionic surfactants like SDS are attracted by the anode, but if the pH of the buffer is high enough to ensure that the EOF is faster than the migration velocity of the micelles, the net migration is in the direction of the EOF, i.e. towards the cathode. During this migration, sample components partition between the buffer and the micelles (acting as a pseudo-stationary phase); this may involve both hydrophobic and electrostatic interactions. For neutral species it is only the partitioning effect that is involved in separation; the more hydrophobic a sample molecule, the more it will interact with the micelle, and the longer will be its migration time, since the micelle resists the EOF. The versatility of MEKC enables it to be used for separations of molecules as diverse as amino acids and polycyclic hydrocarbons.


 
     
 
 
     



     
 
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