Incorporation of carbon nanotubes in porous polymer monolithic capillary columns to enhance the chromatographic separation of small molecules

Stuart D. Chambers, Frantisek Svec, Jean M.J. Fréchet*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    131 Scopus citations


    Multiwalled carbon nanotubes have been entrapped in monolithic poly(glycidyl methacrylate-. co-ethylene dimethacrylate) capillary columns to afford stationary phases with enhanced liquid chromatographic performance for small molecules in the reversed phase. While the column with no nanotubes exhibited an efficiency of only 1800 plates/m, addition of a small amount of nanotubes to the polymerization mixture increased the efficiency to over 15,000 and 35,000 plates/m at flow rates of 1 and 0.15μL/min, respectively. Alternatively, the native glycidyl methacrylate-based monolith was functionalized with ammonia and, then, shortened carbon nanotubes, bearing carboxyl functionalities, were attached to the pore surface through the aid of electrostatic interactions with the amine functionalities. Reducing the pore size of the monolith enhanced the column efficiency for the retained analyte, benzene, to 30,000 plates/m at a flow rate of 0.25μL/min. Addition of tetrahydrofuran to the typical aqueous acetonitrile eluents improved the peak shape and increased the column efficiency to 44,000 plates/m calculated for the retained benzene peak.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)2546-2552
    Number of pages7
    JournalJournal of Chromatography A
    Issue number18
    StatePublished - May 6 2011

    Bibliographical note

    Funding Information:
    Financial support of S.D.C. and J.M.J.F. by a grant of the National Institute of Health ( GM48364 ) is gratefully acknowledged. All experimental and characterization work performed at the Molecular Foundry, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and F.S. were supported by the Office of Science, Office of Basic Energy Sciences, U.S. Department of Energy, under Contract No. DE-AC02-05CH11231.


    • Carbon nanotubes
    • Poly(glycidyl methacrylate-co-ethylene dimethacrylate)
    • Porous polymer monolith
    • Reversed phase chromatography
    • Small molecules

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Analytical Chemistry
    • Biochemistry
    • Organic Chemistry


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