A typical liquid chromatography equipment consists of several important components. These components have their specific functions, and they need each other so that we can run a successful chromatography experiment.
Figure 1. Example of a typical liquid chromatography equipment showing the different parts.
The main components are listed below:
A) Mobile phase reservoir: This is where the mobile phase is contained. The mobile phase is normally stored in glass bottles.
B) Pumps: The function of the pump is to create high pressure and create a flow of mobile phase in the system.
C) Sample injector: Here is where the sample is introduced into the system. The sample needs to be in liquid form (solution).
D) Stationary phase reservoir: This is where the stationary phase is contained, normally inside of a column that is filled with beads or a porous material. Here is where the sample separation takes place. Therefore, its selection is very important to efficiently separate the molecule of interest from the rest of the sample.
E) Detector: This part is responsible for identifying and quantifying the separated analytes. The information is collected and sent to the associated software to prepare the final chromatogram.
F) Fraction collector: This part of the equipment collects the sample in different fractions according to the parameters selected by the operator. When the sample goes through the detector, if the parameters detected correspond to the same fraction as in the previous volume, it will be collected in the same tube. If not, the fraction collector will move clockwise so the eluted sample goes to the next tube.