Ultra Performance Liquid Chromatography (UPLC)

Multi-detector UPLC / UHPLC provides faster and more detailed analysis of polymer molecular weight, size and structure

Do you have polydisperse polymers or oligomers and wish you were better able to resolve this distribution by size or molecular weight?  A clearer understanding of the molecular weight distribution might be the difference between a working or a failing polymer.  Or, would you like to do GPC/SEC measurements in half the time and use half the solvent (or less)?  Saving time and solvent means higher productivity, greener chemistry, lower operating costs, and a quicker turnaround from plant production to lab analysis.

Add multi-detection to your Waters ACQUITY APC™ or UHPLC system for faster and more detailed polymer analysis.

What is UPLC?

UPLC, UHPLC and HPLC are both liquid chromatography techniques to separate the components of a compound or mixture.

Ultra high performance liquid chromatography (UHPLC) and ultra performance liquid chromatography (UPLC) such as the Waters ACQUITY® APC™ are an advancement in traditional gel permeation chromatography (GPC) separations. 

Using advanced hybrid particles, which are smaller than in analytical GPC columns, ACQUITY APC columns offer improved resolutions, faster separation, reduced solvent use, and utilize low-dispersion (band broadening) hardware. A follow-on benefit is that the tall narrow peaks achieved using the ACQUITY APC help to improve sensitivity and reduce detection limits.


The table below highlights some of the differences between UPLC and HPLC as separation techniques. 

Typical Column dimensions 7.8 x 300 mm 4.6 x 150 mm
Particle size 3 - 10 µm < 3 µm
Typical Run time per injection 45 minutes 10 minutes
Solvent usage per injection 45 mL 10 mL
Pump pressure 4 MPa 70 MPa
Sample usage
(µg loading varies depending on sample and system set-up)
300 µg 20 µg
Peak resolution Good Best
Mobile phase change over Normal Fast

Advanced detectors and UPLC

Adding multiple advanced detectors, including light scattering and viscometry to UPLC setups offers superior information about polymers and oligomers, including absolute molecular weight, size, and structure, when compared with conventional single-detector measurements.  

Previously these two techniques have been incompatible due to band-broadening and dispersion effects that take place as narrow UPLC peaks pass through multiple detector cells. However, the latest enhancements to Malvern Panalytical's OMNISEC REVEAL detector platform now bring these two class-leading technologies together.  

Combining the information-rich data from advanced multi-detection with the speed and resolution afforded by UPLC it is now possible to get the best of both worlds - faster and more detailed polymer analysis.



The world’s most advanced multi-detector GPC/SEC system

Gel Permeation Chromatography
Size Exclusion Chromatography (SEC)
Static Light Scattering
Measurement type
Molecular structure
Molecular size
Molecular weight
Minimum sample mass (BSA) 100ng
Minimum sample mass (polystyrene) 100ng
Molecular weight range 200Da - 10MDa