Dual conductivity/amperometric detection system for microchip capillary electrophoresis
The performance characteristics and advantages of a new dual electrochemical microchip detection system based on simultaneous conductivity and amperometric measurements are described. The system relies on the combination of a contactless conductivity detector with an end-column thick-film amperometric detector. Such coupling of the conductivity and amperometric detection modes in a single separation channel greatly enhances the sample characterization to offer simultaneous measurements of both ionic and electroactive species, improved reproducibility, and confirmation of peak identity. The simultaneous measurement of nitroaromatic and ionic explosives is used for demonstrating the ability to detect both electroactive and ionic species. Major improvements are also observed for analytes responding at both detectors. For example, the generation of dual response ratios can be used to improve the reproducibility and confirm the peak identity/integrity. Such dual response ratios reflect the distinct redox and conductivity properties of the individual analytes. The independence of the two detectors is reflected in the absence of "cross-talk" effects. The behavior of the dual detector is comparable with those of the individual detectors. Such a dual electrochemical detection system is easy to implement and requires inherently portable low-cost instrumentation.