The two types of ion chromatography are anion-exchange and cation-exchange. The equilibrated stationary phase consists of an ionizable functional group where the targeted molecules of a mixture to be separated and quantified can bind while passing through the column—a cationic stationary phase is used to separate anions and an anionic stationary phase is used to separate cations. Cation exchange chromatography is used when the desired molecules to separate are cations and anion chromatography types and uses pdf chromatography is used to separate anions.
However, there are also disadvantages involved when performing ion-exchange chromatography, such as constant evolution with the technique which leads to the inconsistency from column to column. Ion chromatography has advanced through the accumulation of knowledge over a course of many years. Starting from 1947, Spedding and Powell used displacement ion-exchange chromatography for the separation of the rare earths. Additionally, they showed the ion-exchange separation of 14N and 15N isotopes in ammonia.
At the start of the 1950s, Kraus and Nelson demonstrated the use of many analytical methods for metal ions dependent on their separation of their chloride, fluoride, nitrate or sulfate complexes by anion chromatography. Automatic in-line detection was progressively introduced from 1960 to 1980 as well as novel chromatographic methods for metal ion separations. A groundbreaking method by Small, Stevens and Bauman at Dow Chemical Co. Anions and cations could now be separated efficiently by a system of suppressed conductivity detection. In 1979, a method for anion chromatography with non-suppressed conductivity detection was introduced by Gjerde et al. Following it in 1980, was a similar method for cation chromatography.
As a result, a period of extreme competition began within the IC market, with supporters for both suppressed and non-suppressed conductivity detection. This competition led to fast growth of new forms and the fast evolution of IC. A challenge that needs to be overcome in the future development of IC is the preparation of highly efficient monolithic ion-exchange columns and overcoming this challenge would be of great importance to the development of IC. Ion chromatography was originally introduced by two English researchers, agricultural Sir Thompson and chemist J T Way.
The works of Thompson and Way involved the action of water-soluble fertilizer salts, ammonium sulfate and potassium chloride. These salts could not easily be extracted from the ground due to the rain. They performed ion methods to treat clays with the salts, resulting in the extraction of ammonia in addition to the release of calcium. It was in the fifties and sixties that theoretical models were developed for IC for further understanding and it was not until the seventies that continuous detectors were utilized, paving the path for the development from low-pressure to high-performance chromatography. Not until 1975 was “ion chromatography” established as a name in reference to the techniques, and was thereafter used as a name for marketing purposes.
Today IC is important for investigating aqueous systems, such as drinking water. It is a popular method for analyzing anionic elements or complexes that help solve environmentally relevant problems. When this technique was initially developed, it was primarily used for water treatment. Since 1935, ion exchange chromatography rapidly manifested into one of the most heavily leveraged techniques, with its principles often being applied to majority of fields of chemistry, including distillation, adsorption, and filtration. Ion-exchange chromatography separates molecules based on their respective charged groups.
Essentially, molecules undergo electrostatic interactions with opposite charges on the stationary phase matrix. The stationary phase consists of an immobile matrix that contains charged ionizable functional groups or ligands. To achieve electroneutrality, these inert charges couple with exchangeable counterions in the solution. Ionizable molecules that are to be purified compete with these exchangeable counterions for binding to the immobilized charges on the stationary phase. These ionizable molecules are retained or eluted based on their charge.