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University of Helsinki Faculty of Science
 
Analytical Chemistry

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Department of Chemistry
P.O. BOX 55 (A.I. Virtasen aukio 1)
FI-00014 University of Helsinki
Finland


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Miniaturized & Multidimensional Techniques

Miniaturisation, simplification and increased automation of analytical devices and operations are exciting current trends in analytical chemistry. An important interest in the area of miniaturisation of devices and analytical techniques is microfabrication (chip) technology. The potential for mass production of low-cost devices is tremendous. Miniaturised separation technologies, particularly capillary electrophoresis, are undergoing rapid development. Analytical measurements in a microchip format have advantages of increased speed of analysis, decreased sample and solvent consumption and ease of mass fabrication by micro-machined technology. Microfabricated devices have the potential to make a major impact in many disciplines, including clinical/diagnostic testing, standardisation and quality control, environmental analysis and monitoring, and detection of chemical and biological warfare agents. A. Manz and D.J. Harrisson, both renowned workers in the field of miniaturised total (chemical) analytical systems concisely summarise the benefits of miniaturised devices: “Miniaturisation is a route to enhanced analytical performance, especially shorter analysis times”.

Sample pretreatment with large amounts of harmful organic solvents and reagents tends to be the most time-consuming, tedious and error-prone part of the whole analytical procedure. These problems can be minimised, or even totally avoided, through use of more efficient and selective techniques for extraction, and through use of methods that allow on-line combination of sample pretreatment and analysis. Multidimensional chromatographic techniques and on-line combination of sample pretreatment and chromatographic analysis are attractive, as the whole analysis can be carried out in a closed system that is easy to automate. Additional benefits are the improved sensitivity and reliability of the analysis. The aim in multidimensional techniques is to exploit the best features of the different component techniques and thereby to improve upon the selectivity and sensitivity of the analysis. Multidimensional techniques are ideally suited for the analysis of complex samples. The most promising multidimensional techniques include multidimensional liquid chromatography, on-line coupled liquid chromatography–gas chromatography and comprehensive two-dimensional gas chromatography.

Professors in charge
Prof. Marja-Liisa Riekkola  
Prof. Tapio Kotiaho